The 28th Sunday of the Year

2 Kings 5:14-17; 2 Tim 2:8-13; Lk 17:11-19 (year c)

 ‘The Lord has made known his salvation, has shown his salvation to the nations. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”

The psalmist proclaimed a God whose mercy reached beyond the cultural and national prejudices that so easily divide nations. As sinners, our lives are sustained by a mercy that reaches beyond past transgressions. If we are to live in the likeness of that mercy, we must allow this mercy to question our hidden prejudices.

The Old Testament narrative of the leper Naaman, healed by Elisha, Israel’s prophet, is an examination of ancient prejudices that endure to the present day. Naaman, a wealthy officer in a foreign army, had initially been too proud to appeal to the God of a lesser nation. Persuasion, and the cruel isolation of leprosy, had ultimately brought him to seek healing from the God of Israel.

In Naaman’s reluctance to approach the prophet, we see our own reluctance to acknowledge God’s presence in those whose lives and customs are so very different from our own. All too easily we allow a comfortable insensitivity to blind us to the stranger’s need. Faith surrenders its prejudices to God and in so doing finds a mercy that knows no boundaries.

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