This weekend the Scriptures are trying to move us past our misconceived notions of how we expect God to work. Our first reading finishes the story about Naaman, a Syrian Commander. He was a man of great influence and strength, but he worshipped false gods. When faced with leprosy, he received advice from an Israelite to turn to the prophet Elisha in Samaria. Naaman, initially rejected the simple prophetic instruction to wash in the Jordan, a dirty river, only to be encouraged by others to listen. After rinsing himself in the Jordan River seven times, Naaman was healed in two ways; physically of his leprosy, but also spiritually which led him to proper worship.
Like Naaman, don’t we struggle to believe in the simple ways the Lord can work in our lives? Naaman was hurting both physically and spiritually and simply listening to another person, a servant of God, and following a simple task, he found healing. Sometimes we doubt God’s power in healing our body and our souls, yet Jesus Christ desires to make us whole and has given us simple tools of Sacraments to bring healing to our body and soul.
In the Gospel, Jesus encounters 10 lepers in Samaria and Galilee. Jesus heals all 10, but only one returns. The one who returns is a Samaritan. A Samaritan, according to the Jews, were people who were beyond salvation because they were once part of the 12 tribes of Israel. However, they had rejected the covenant and began worshipping false gods. Jesus points out to his followers that it was only the Samaritan, even though all 10 lepers were healed, that was able to see the true reason for his healing, which was Jesus.
In my priestly ministry, I have encountered many people who have felt they were beyond God’s mercy, yet our Gospel is meant to move us past our false notions. That the Lord is able to bring healing to anyone, even those who feel the furthest away, including ourselves! Let us move past our misconceived notions in the way the Lord can work in the heart of others and ourselves. Let us seek healing in Christ through the beautiful gifts of the Sacraments!