Tìm Kiếm

14 tháng 10, 2013

Homily for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Homily for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
(Lk 17: 11-19)
Fr. Joseph Dinh, O.P.

Dear Sisters and Brothers,
After healing a disease, Jesus usually said this sentence to those who were healed: “Your faith has made you well”. Jesus wanted to emphasize that faith is the main cause of healing. Therefore, faith is an important factor that penetrates our life and becomes a main reason for our religious behavior. However, the Gospel story today telling us of ten lepers who were cured of leprosy, reminds us that their behavior lacked something even more important than their obedience; they lacked gratitude. The real faith should consist of both praise and thankfulness.
1. The ten leper’s actions
First let us talk about the ten leper’s actions.
At the beginning, they wanted to meet Jesus. Surely they knew Jesus’ name and His power over diseases, so they hoped that Jesus could make them clean. However, having contracted leprosy, the lepers were not allowed to get close to Jesus. They have to stand at a distance from Jesus. In the Jewish society of that time, every leper had to keep themselves always from others, carrying a bell in order to warn others of their contagious disease. Consequently not being able to approach Jesus, they stood afar and raised their voices. All of them asked Jesus for mercy, for compassion and for a cure.  Why did they beg Jesus’ mercy? The answer is simple: they were lepers and nobody could cure them except Jesus. They were denied the right to live like other human beings. They wanted Jesus to understand their suffering, sympathize with their loneliness and forgive their sins.
Following Jesus’ instruction, the ten lepers went to present themselves to the priests. As a result, all of them were cleaned. In fact, this was an action which was opposite to the law current at that time. By law the leper was to go to a priest after having completely being cured. In this case, although the ten lepers were not yet cured they still follow Jesus’ instructions and presented themselves before the priests, because of their faith in Jesus and it had cured them.
2. The Samaritan’s behavior
Let us continue with the Samaritan and his behavior.
Together with others lepers, the leper from Samaria went to the priests, and on the way he was cleaned. Were the ten lepers cleaned? Of course all of them were made clean. Did they recognize that they were healed? Surely they knew. Despite being told to go to priests, just like the other nine people, the Samaritan returned to Jesus. Falling on his face at Jesus’ feet, the Samaritan expressed gratitude and praised Jesus. Seeing him, Jesus asked: “Where are the other nine?”  Asking the question, Jesus appeared to be surprised at their ingratitude. Being too much meticulous in keeping the law, sometimes makes people forget to give thanks to their benefactors.
According to Luke’s Gospel, we know that Jesus did not blame the other nine, because He knew that they were very happy to show themselves to the priests and they were going to become normal persons again. Jesus praised the Samaritan not because he was a gentile, but because he was the only one who returned to show his grateful to the Lord. Faith leads us to God and His many blessings, but faith also teaches us to be grateful of the Lord.
Dear sisters and Brothers,
When we are in trouble, we usually pray and ask God for help. This is right. But afterwards, what is our behavior? Of course we think of God and want to give thanks to God. Remember that faith is not an exchange between the one who asks and the one who gives. It is not real faith if we only give thanks God when we receive God’s grace. Every day, how much grace we receive from God! Let us imagine those who were under the collapsed Twin World Trade Towers in New York on September 11, 2001. What did they need most at that moment? Of course they needed a little air, water and space… to survive, although in daily life they, most probably, did not care about these things.
May we recognize the Lord’s grace in our lives with greatest gratitude and love Him with all our hearts. Amen.

Fr. Joseph Dinh, O.P.