Saturday, October 12, 2013

10/13/2013 - 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
October 13, 2013 - St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church


28 OT C 2013
Saint Martin

Some people in our midst have the power to heal.
Sometimes it’s the saints who we ask to intercede for us.

Saints like: Saint Peregrine, Saint Dymphna, Saint Lucy,
Saint Pio, Saint Luke.

Sometimes it’s someone who reaches out a comforting hand in a time of need to sooth our troubled spirits or wipe away a tear from our eyes or hold us when we need to be held.

Sometimes it’s a priest who lays hands on our heads during the Sacrament of Anointing of the sick and we feel the power
of the Holy Spirit coursing through us.

Often times, when I am anointing the sick or giving absolution, I can feel the healing power of God passing though me as I become a vessel bringing the Lord’s healing to others.

In those moments of awareness, I very much understand Mary’s humility when she cries out, “I am the handmaid of the Lord.”

Why should it surprise us that there are some among us who have the power to heal.

We know that Jesus has the power to heal.  But not only Jesus.  Why?  Because he sends his disciples out with the power to heal as well.

So it shouldn’t surprise us to discover that there are some among us who, coming in the name of the Lord, have the power to bring us healing.

This tradition of healers goes all the way back to the Old Testament. 
The prophet Elisha was a healer.

Naaman, a general in the Syrian army, had leprosy.  He was told by his little servant girl that the prophet Elisha had the power to heal him.
He believes her, so he gathers his retinue, brings lots of gifts, and goes to Elisha.  He appears at the prophet’s door, but the prophet does not come out to see him.

Instead Elisha sends Naaman this message, 
“Go, dip seven times in the Jordan River.”

Naaman is insulted.  “A man of my position, power and authority. 
How dare he not come out to me, and lay hands on me and cure me.”

If that’s not enough, he goes on, “”Syria has two beautiful, sparkling rivers.  The Jordan, in comparison, is nothing more than a muddy ditch.”

Naaman turns on his heels to go home, in a tizzy.
But Naaman really needed the Lord’s healing.
And he really needed to accept that healing on the Lord’s terms.

You see, the Lord wanted to heal more than Naaman’s skin.
The Lord wanted to heal his heart as well. 

Naaman’s servants convince him to get off his high horse and do what the prophet asked.  And this is where our first reading today begins.  Naaman dips seven times in the muddy waters of the Jordan and is cleansed.

Each one of us has a spot of leprosy, some troubled spot, some disease or defect, and we are in desperate need of the Lord’s healing. 

But we have to get down on our knees and cry out, “Jesus have pity on me.”  Can we honestly say to Jesus, “I have this spot of leprosy that needs healing?”

broken relationship       foul mouth          addiction
nasty temper           lustful impulses       depression, anxiety
a physical ailment  a hardened heart     a lack of forgiveness

In the gospel, all ten lepers cry out and all ten are made clean, but only one is made whole.  The one who returns to give thanks and praise to God is the one who is made whole. 
We long to be made whole.  It seems to me that two things are required to be healed and made whole.

First, we have to seek out the healers in our midst, those who feel the healing power working through them, a trusted friend to hold us, a priest to lay hands on us.

Second, we need to be grateful for this healing that the Lord desires for us.  Sometimes we get so busy in our daily activities that we never take time to reflect on the Lord’s healing touch at work in our lives.

Or maybe we don’t feel thankful because we simply don’t pay attention to the things for which we should be thankful.

The Mass we celebrate here each Sunday is our greatest expression of thanksgiving.  It is our time to return to the Lord saying, “Thank you.”

Saint Paul in the second reading reminds us that one of the ways we give praise and thanks is through song.  He calls upon us to sing songs, psalms, and spiritual hymns.

The Lord gave us his body and blood in the Eucharist.  And the Lord died on the cross for us.  That’s worth singing about.
And when we sing, we give thanks.

The Leper who returns to give thanks and praise to God is the one who is healed and made whole.  The other nine are still in chains.

The Lord has sent healers to live among us.  If we seek them out, they have the power to heal us.  Do we seek them out? 
Do we come to them bringing our spot of leprosy that needs healing?

And once we are healed, do we come here to this holy place to give thanks and praise to the Lord for what he has done for us? 
It is in this way that we are healed and made whole.  

2 comments:

  1. Thanks, Fr. Rusty -- This really spoke to me. I liked the part about identifying what spot of leprosy it is that I specifically need to have cleansed. Very helpful image.

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  2. Thank you, Fr. Rusty and God bless you.

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