Homily for 28th Sunday Year C: Fr. Michael Udoekpo· 2 Kings 5:14-17
· Ps 98:1-4
· 2 Tim 2:8-13
· Luke 17:11-19
The Saving Power of God is UniversalToday’s readings reveal to us that the saving power God is universal. It reaches to everyone: men, women and children of all nations, cultures, and walks of life; lepers and non-lepers, prisoners and non-prisoners, the rich and to the poor. God’s mercy has no limitation. It has no boundary. It cannot be put in chain, says St. Paul. We must therefore, be thankful to God.
In the 1st reading of today (2 Kgs 5:14-17) Naaman, a military commander of a foreign origin, from Damascus is healed of his leprosy, through the intercession of Prophet Elisha. In this story, after his healing, you notice Naaman returned, stood before Elisha and thanking God and acknowledged the God of Israel as the ruler of all, and the sovereign of all creations and nations. Naaman, says, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”
What sustains Paul in his missionary journeys, as indicated in the 2nd reading, his 2 Letter to Timothy, perhaps from prison, was his courage, faith, firmness, and steadfastness in the Gospel Christ. It is this call to faithfulness, and steadfastness the Paul recommends to Timothy, and of course, to us, in spite of the sufferings and all kinds adverse difficulties we may encounter. In the case of Paul, even though he was in prison, in chain, Paul made sure that, the word of God was not in chainRemember, 'prisonness" or “illnesses” are not limited to bodily diseases like leprosy or confinement in a particular location. Fear, terrorism, and all forms social and political leprosies and imprisonment do exist in societies and roam our streets today. Some of them can come in form of natural disasters; earthquakes and hurricanes. Or lack of educational facilities for our children. We must not allow these modern ills to imprison the Word of God. Or blind us of the wonders of the Lord. But, like Paul, a for prosecutor of Christians, and Naaman the foreign leper, we must be on our toes, dispose ourselves for God’s grace and be grateful for what God does for us, daily.
In today’s Gospel of Luke 17 several lepers, in fact, ten of them, were also healed. They disposed themselves for God’s healing mercy and saving power. Among them was a Samaritan leper, another foreigner, like the Naaman of the first reading. Interestingly, the cleansed Samaritan is the only one among the ten who returned with gratitude to God.What a good example to those of us that God has blessed everyday: the gift of life; the gift of our families, vocations, children, grandchildren, jobs, educations, affordable health care, security. In fact, whatever the circumstances we find ourselves perseverance, taught us, by Paul is important. We must remain grateful to God, and of course, reach out to others; and share the goodness of the Lord with our neighbors. For God’s saving power and mercy, especially, in this Year of Mercy, is Universal. It is sufficient unto the Jews and to the Gentiles, to the “Naamans” and to the “Samaritans,” of all nations and cultures.