Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 

The Faith of the Outcast

THE FIRST READING: Naaman, a proud leper

 Naaman is the commander of the Aramean army. He might have led attacks against Israel. Although he holds a lofty position, he has a visible ailment. When he learns that the Israelite prophet Elisha could heal him, he sets off for Israel.
Elisha tells Naaman to wash in the Jordan river, which borders part of Israel. Naaman reacts angrily for two reasons: • he wants a healing ceremony that’s tailored to his status and the severity of his illness • the Jordan is a muddy creek compared to other rivers he knows  When his servants persuade him, however, Naaman obeys Elisha, which is where this reading begins.

Naaman isn’t only cured, he converts to the faith of the Israelites. LORD represents Yahweh, which is sort of God’s personal name. Like others of his time, Naaman believed that gods could only be worshiped in the land over which they ruled. Naaman wants to take some dirt, part of Israel’s land, back with him to Aram in order to worship the LORD properly.
A not-for-profit prophet Elisha refuses to accept money or any type of gift from Naaman. The prophet makes it clear that he acts out of total dedication to God. He does not seek personal gain.

THE GOSPEL READING:  Leprosy

 Then (as now) God gave some people the power to heal physical illnesses. When the lepers realized that they were healed, they must have thought that Jesus was such a healer. The Samaritan, however, realizes that Jesus is something much more: Jesus saves people at every level of their being. Ironically, this foreigner, who supposedly betrayed the true faith, is filled with faith in all that Jesus is.
Jesus shared God’s love and healing with all the lepers. He didn’t test them to see if they would understand the greater work that he would do in Jerusalem (v.11). Still, he sounds a little sad that the other nine haven’t come to a deeper faith.
 

PRAYER 

God of Compassion, We thank you for the ways you have made us strong in mind, body and spirit. There are times when we and those we love get sick. Make us a comfort to one another. Help us to know that you are with us in these times of suffering. Through our care for one another and the healing you bring, help us to realize how much we need you. Help us to return to you time and again to seek your help and healing in every aspect of our lives. We ask this through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.