Friar’s Corner: Lepers find the joy of God’s healing love

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

2 Kings 5:14-17; Ps 98:1-4; 2 Timothy 2:8-1; Luke 17:11-19

We continue to beg God for his mercy on our country with this election, the conversion of all terrorists and care for the refugees. Next to frequent Mass, we use the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and the rosary. Mary reportedly said on 9/25/16 in Medjugorje,

“Dear children! Today, I am calling you to prayer. May prayer be life to you. Only in this way will your heart be filled with peace and joy. God will be near you, and you will feel him in your heart as a friend. You will speak with him as with someone whom you know and, little children, you will have a need to witness, because Jesus will be in your heart and you, united to him. I am with you and love all of you with my motherly love. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

The healing of Naaman, the leper

Each weekend and at daily Masses, we have several themes that emerge from the scripture readings. This weekend the stories of leper healings are core. In the first reading from 2 Kings, Naaman, a Syrian army commander, heard of a great healer, Elisha, in Israel. So Naaman traveled, with many gifts to find Elisha.  The latter told Naaman to bathe seven times in the Jordan river. On the seventh time, Naaman was completely healed. So he returned to give thanks to the God of Elisha. He took some soil from Israel back so he would only offer worship to the God of Israel, not his native gods.

Jesus spent 20 percent of his public life healing people. Mark has brief stories but John may take almost a whole chapter, In today’s gospel story in Luke, nine Jewish lepers and one Samaritan went to Jesus asking for healing. Normal Jews did not like Samaritans. The former had intermarried with pagan Assyrians after their invasion. Thus they did not follow strict Jewish practices. Jesus told all ten lepers to go the priests and offer a sacrifice to God for their healing. All ten were healed yet only the Samaritan, out of all the stories in the New Testament, went back to “give thanks” to Jesus for his healing. Jesus asked if all ten were healed. That is amazing and gives us pause to think of our own response.

Our healing Eucharist

The Greek word for “giving thanks” is translated “Eucharist.” These lepers reveal the inner dimensions of the Mass (Eucharist) and our other sacraments. All our sins were taken away at our baptism as Jesus gives us the forgiveness he won for us on the cross. Our sins since our last confession are taken away at our next confession.

At the beginning of Mass, we admit we are sinners and ask God for forgiveness. Then the scriptures teach we how to live our Catholic life in the world. Later in the service the Holy Spirit and the ordained priest change bread and wine into the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. As we touch Jesus receiving communion Jesus can heal something in us.

Jesus also increases his divine power in us. Every Mass is a healing service: “Lord I am not worthy… say but the word and I shall be healed.” If we understand, we can ask for a deeper healing. At the end of Mass God blesses us and send us out into the world to be his healing joy to others. We help him make the world “a better place to live.”

How many of us stop after Mass / Eucharist to speak to Jesus and really thank him for all of his gifts? We might talk to others and run out of church without “giving thanks.” Isn’t this sad when God offers us so much? Let us resolve to take some time after Mass to speak to Jesus. Let us thank him and tell him how much we love him. This will bring us much joy and peace.

Have a blessed and grateful week.
Peace!

+ Fr. Bob Hilz

(© 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at JoyAlive.net,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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