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Contents: Volume 2 - Twenty Eighth Sunday of Ordered time -C- October 13, 2019


 

The

28th

SUNDAY

 

1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Carol & Dennis Keller

3. -- Brian Gleeson CP

4. --

5. --(Your reflection can be here!)

 

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Sun. 28 C 2019

It seems to me that an increase in gratitude, especially deliberately becoming more conscious of expressing it, would make our world a significantly better place, to say nothing about the improvement in our personal lives. The Dominican, Meister Eichart, is quoted as saying: "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." In our Gospel story this Sunday about the ten people whom Jesus cleansed of leprosy, Jesus tells us exactly that!

We have all met people who have very little in material possessions but are truly rich in praise for God and sharing what little they have with others. We have all seen examples of some in religious communities who have comparatively less materially than those who live more commercialized lives simply beam with joy. What do these people have that each of us could use more of????

The answer is gratitude... not special favor from God! A good beginning point for increasing our own expression of gratitude to God is to hem the day in a morning thank you for the evening's rest and new day, then a thank you at bedtime for God's presence throughout the day and evening. Once we can do that, we can be more open to noticing the many, many things in our lives, busy and stressful though they may be, that cry out for a thank you to God and a thank you to the people God puts in our lives to make them even bearable.

What is on your list of things for which you are grateful this day?

Blessings,

Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity

lanie@leblanc.one

 

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2.

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Twenty Eighth Sunday of Ordered Time October 13, 2019

2nd Kings 5:14-17; Responsorial Psalm 98; 2nd Timothy 2:8-13; Gospel Acclamation 1st Thessalonians 5:18; Luke 17:11-19

The beginning of the story about Naaman, the successful general of the King of Aram, adds depth to our first reading this Sunday. Naaman was the chief general of the Kingdom of Aram. That kingdom was a neighboring kingdom to the northern kingdom of Israel. Even though Naaman suffered from leprosy, he retained his place in society and in the Kingdom of Aram. Aram and Israel had an uneasy peace among them. In a past raid, Naaman’s army captured a young girl who was made a slave to Naaman’s wife. It is the slave girl who tells her master that the prophet in Israel, Elisha, should be asked for help for Naaman’s leprosy. The King of Aram insisted Naaman go to the kingdom of Israel to seek out this Elisha. That king sent along valuable gifts for the king of Israel, with the intention the King of Israel would require Elisha to cure Naaman. The king of Israel thought the request was merely a set-up and an excuse to attack Israel and end his life. Elisha steps in and tells the king to send along Naaman.

When Naaman came to Elisha’s house, Elisha did not come out to greet him. Naaman took this as an insult against his status thinking that Elisha would have come out and invoked God with loud incantations and gestures and thus heal him of his sickness. Elisha merely sent word that Naaman go wash seven times in the Jordan. We can imagine how angry Naaman became. He had worked hard to achieve his success and his status. Besides Aram had rivers of its own that were as beautiful and fruitful as was the Jordan. We recognize the pride of Naaman that nearly ended his search for intervention from the God of Israel. Here is a lesson for us. Pride will often get in the way of our healing. We are culturally programmed to rely and depend on the way of the world for our well-being. Faith in the creator God and God’s continual support of creation gives away to a blind trust and faith in science and technology. As a result we fail to be thankful for what has been given to us. Without the eyes of faith we fail to recognize the wonder of creation. We overlook the wonder of our own persons and fall into slavery to a culture that embraces death because of its dependence on denial of dignity and worth of other persons. It is no secret that our lives are threatened by abuse of the resources of our earth for the sake of profit.

The story of Naaman ends with this prestigious general recognizing the power of God. "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel." We’re required to let go of our pride before we’re able to see with faith that God is with us.

The Responsorial Psalm this Sunday has a curious antiphon. "The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power." What is this salvation that God reveals to all the nations? What are we saved from? What are we saved for? That is the question that constantly recurs in our lives. Salvation comes to each of us in the moments when we most need it. Just as we think of God as capable of attention to even the least among us, so also God is attentive to the burdens we carry in our hearts. The leprosy that is rampant in our culture, a culture that embraces death as profit, is healed when God gifts us with faith. It is for us to look for the moments of saving that come to us from the largesse of God’s presence.

The Gospel this Sunday is also very interesting. There are nine Jews with leprosy who accept a Samaritan as a companion. In ordinary living no Jew would ever accept the companionship of a Samaritan. The hatred between these two ethnic groups was intense. The Samaritans had an historic reason for their hatred. When the northern Kingdom of Israel was attacked by the Assyrians and overwhelmed, the Nation of Juda turned their backs. The Jews looked at the Samaritans as a mongrel race. When the Assyrians conquered Israel only a remnant of the original Hebrews were allowed to remain in the land. In the place of those exiled to the four winds, the Assyrians repopulated the land with conquered people from five other nations. Over the years the details of their hatred was lost and the enmity became a matter of its culture.

The story tells us that misery, catastrophe, and loss bring overcome the issues that divide us. When Jesus tells them to show themselves to the priests, he was telling them – including the Samaritan – to follow the law and custom of Judaism. The Samaritan went with the other nine to show himself to the priests in accordance with the Law of Moses. The thought may occur to us that here is another lesson. When anyone is healed, there is a comradeship established among those healed that overcomes race, creed, ethnicity, language, and any other divisive characteristic.

Why didn’t those of the Jewish faith return to express their gratitude for Jesus’ intervention? Is it perhaps because their healing needed to be recognized by the institutional religion of the Jews before these healed persons could be accepted back into society. Leprosy was a disease greatly contagious. In an effort to protect society, persons with leprosy were expelled from family, town, nation, and religion. Such rejection would rob a person of family and friends, employment and comfort. Thus those nine were so delighted at their new health that they forgot the source of their good fortune.

As long as things go well for us, we tend to forget the source of our life. We tend to forget to be grateful for what has been given us. How often we see persons of advanced age isolated and forgotten by children whose status, education, and upbringing were so dependent on their parents and grandparents. How often we forget those who have had an important part in our lives. How often we forget the sacrifice and heavy lifting of our ancestors in establishing a just and welcoming country that applies the rule of law to all no matter their status.

Perhaps we should remind ourselves that the second part of the Mass is called The Eucharist. That word is derived from the Greek, from a word meaning "to give thanks." Perhaps we should remind ourselves that the beginning of that giving thanks that we bring to the altar the fruits of our work, the burdens we carry, the guilt that diminishes our freedom, and the love we share with family, friends, and the assembly to which we’ve come together. Giving thanks is the keystone of our lives as Christians. Our vision should always be focused on what goodness is in our lives and that comes our way without our meriting it. Let us give thanks not only at Mass but also at our table when we gather for nourishment, when we come together to celebrate events of our living. Let us never allow differences to divide us. Let us always look for what unites us as the children of the Lord.

Carol & Dennis Keller & Charlie (editing) dkeller002@nc.rr.com

 

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LEPERS THEN AND NOW: 28TH SUNDAY C

Who are the lepers in our society today, the ones who feel excluded, the ones who feel they don’t belong, the ones who feel they are outsiders and not insiders? Let me offer some possibilities! People who are aborigines? People who are Sudanese? People who are immigrants without documents? People who are down on their luck and who need food vouchers to get by? People with a different sexual orientation? People who don’t agree with us on war, on climate change, and on other social and political issues? People who are divorced and re-married and don’t feel comfortable in church? People suffering from AIDS?

There is a particularly close parallel between the Story of the Ten Lepers and the story of people with AIDS. Both groups of persons have endured hideous and repulsive symptoms. Both have been shunned by other persons. Both have been segregated from the healthy. Both have been condemned, ignored, belittled and humiliated. Both have needed the healing help that has come their way - from Jesus personally in the case of the Ten Lepers, from people like Jesus in the case of those suffering from AIDS. Another parallel is that Jesus did not let the question of how they became lepers stop him from helping and healing them. Neither should their carers let the question of how they contracted AIDS get in the way of their helping and healing.

Still another parallel may be presumed. Just as ten lepers were made clean but only one was grateful, it's unlikely that all AIDS sufferers are as grateful as they might be - to their doctors, nurses, families, friends and carers. It's more likely that some - if only a few - are so preoccupied with their pain, discomfort, loss of meaning and hope, that they simply forget to acknowledge the love and care, the help and relief that they receive. It’s only human nature!

We, you and I, come into both of these stories. We may be very healthy, with healthy bodies and healthy sexuality. But are our attitudes completely healthy? How many AIDS patients do we know? How many would we be willing to know? For how many do we care? For how many would we be willing to care?

How much, if at all, do we think of AIDS as a terrible evil threatening life and health, meaning and happiness? Isn’t it possible that some might even secretly view it as a just punishment from God on those who misbehave? And isn’t it even possible that some may be secretly hoping that a cure for the disease will never be found?

We, you and I, come into the stories in another way. Ten were cleansed, ten were helped, ten were healed, ten were given back life, meaning and hope, but only one returned to thank Jesus. He did so loudly and enthusiastically. So, do you and I appreciate and acknowledge the good that is done to us and the good that is done for us? Or are we so self-centred, so wrapped up in our little selves that we actually neglect to say thanks and to show our appreciation for favours and kindnesses received?

Have you ever noticed children opening presents? They tear off the bows, the gift-wrap, and the cardboard, to go straight to the contents. They ignore the card that says where the present came from. They have to be told: 'Say "thank-you" to Uncle Jim.’ ‘Give Auntie Jane a kiss.' We can excuse little ones for this, because they are not grown up. We others should know better and do better.

To our great credit tonight [today], we have come together to the Eucharist to give thanks to God, 'from whom all blessings flow'. But when I see you praising and thanking God, I cannot but think of the words of Jesus: 'Were not all ten made whole?'

Has not our entire parish been made whole in baptism? Were not hundreds of God's people in this suburb (or town) once connected to the person of Jesus Christ, and offered an ongoing and lifelong relationship with him? So ‘where are the other nine?’ Where are they?

At other Masses, I hope, somewhere For, just like you and me, having received so much from God through Jesus, how could anyone possibly stay away from this time of heartfelt thanks for life, health, happiness, meaning, purpose and fulfilment, the company of Jesus and of our fellow-Christians? To mention just a few of the blessings that flow from our good God day after day after day!

"Brian Gleeson CP" <bgleesoncp@gmail.com>

 

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Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections, and insights on the next Sundays readings can influence the preaching you hear. Send them to preacherexchange@att.net. Deadline is Wednesday Noon. Include your Name, and Email Address.

-- Fr. John


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