Reflection: Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – 2Kg.5:14-17; Ps.97; 2nd Reading – 2Tm.2:8-13; Gospel – Lk.17:11-19]

“YOUR FAITH HAS SAVED YOU”

We are told that Jesus was going towards Jerusalem along the border between Samaria and Galilee. Samaria denotes certain hostilities to what was Jewish and the relationship between the Samaritans and the Jews was not exactly nice and peaceful. Thus the author of today’s gospel is already putting us in a “hostile” ground and scenario. Firstly we have the fact that Jerusalem, the city Jesus was travelling to, is the place where Jesus was going to suffer his death through crucifixion. Secondly we have the specific mention of Samaria, which brings to mind the difficult relationship between the two ethnic groups. Thirdly we have the protagonists (i.e. the ten lepers) of the story. It is interesting that these ten lepers “stood some way off and called to him…” i.e. they obeyed protocol that as lepers they could not mix with healthy people. We are told that these lepers called to Jesus and addressed him as Master and asked him to have pity on them!

It seems that Jesus did not do anything specific to respond/satisfy their request except to send them off to show themselves to the priests. This request was made because it was customary for the priest to confirm that they were healed (and therefore could mix with society once again). When Jesus sent them off to the priests, they were still “lepers” and they were only “cleansed” on the way, as they “were going away” to show themselves to the priests! They obeyed Jesus, even if they were not seeing any progress in regaining back their health.

The story continues to tell us that when these lepers discovered they were cured en route to the priests, only one of them, a Samaritan, and therefore a “foreigner” to the Jewish faith, returned back “praising God at the top of his voice”, threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him! Instead of presenting himself to the priests, this man presented himself to Jesus.  This gave rise to Jesus’ comments and questions regarding the whereabouts of the other nine and the statement that only this “foreigner” gave praise to God for his cure. Classic are Jesus’ final words: “Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.

Sometimes we go through the same experience as those nine lepers: we ask God to “have pity on us” and we pray very fervently. But often we forget to thank God, even when we do receive what we have prayed for. We hardly have the decency to return to God and thank him. We are often too ready to express our frustration whenever we consider someone not showing us any appreciation, but then, absurdly, we turn around and treat God with that same lack of appreciation! When will we learn to be more appreciative?

Lord Jesus Christ, help us to recognise that you are Master and Lord. Help us to have the courage to ask you to have pity on us. Help us to let you clean us and cure our infirmities. Lord, give us the wisdom that we need to learn to show our gratitude towards you as we say “Thank you Lord!

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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