Wednesday, October 09, 2019

"This `Foreigner'?" (Bible Study Recap, 28th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C)

Saints Denis and Companions
Saint John Leonardi
Blessed John Henry Newman


"Was there no one to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"

Hard to imagine Jesus dissing the Samaritan leper — who, NOT incidentally, was the ONLY one of TEN lepers who came back to THANK Jesus for curing him — as a mere "foreigner," isn't it?

But maybe not. According to Dr. Brant Pitre:

The Greek word there, allogenēs, it only occurs here in the New Testament. And it literally means, “someone of another race.” So allow means “other,” genēs means “race,” so allogenēs is this person of another race—in other words, referring to the Samaritan as being of a different race because they were descended from the Gentiles; they were descended from the Assyrians. So after Jesus says this, He says, “Rise, go your way.” What has made you well? Your epistis, your trust, your faith. So another key theme we’ve seen in this chapter is the healing power, the saving power of faith. The Samaritan believed Jesus when Jesus said, “Go show yourselves to the priest,” and he was immediately cleansed. He was immediately healed.

Once again, we find the virtue of faith — remember last Sunday's Gospel about that mustard seed? -- a key in Jesus' message.

But "foreigner?"

Yep. What Jesus is doing is smashing down the barriers to salvation! And that's really, really, exciting!!!

"Kelly. Calm down."

I will in a minute. But this is Just. Too. Exciting. For Words!

We're getting a…well…a bit of foreplay here! (Sorry, maybe the wrong word, but strangely apt to me.) Yes! An appetizer if you want to call it that, for the conversion of EVERY SINGLE NATION ON THIS EARTH to…well, to God!

Just check out Psalm 98!!!

Or…my favorite…Psalm 67 (I mean one of my favorites.) Anyway, both sing the praises of God Who has revealed to the NATIONS His saving power!"

Okay, here's the thing:

From Acts 28:28: "You must know that God is offering his salvation to all the world!"

Yes! Even that guy Naaman got it! (After a bit of reluctance.)

Darn those Liturgy Reading People anyway!

The First Reading for this Sunday omits the entire, and, in my opinion, crucial background of Naaman the Syrian. No matter, though…we went through it and so, may I humbly suggest, should you. It's so cool of a story that Jesus mentioned the guy Naaman in one of his talks…along, by the way, with the folks of Nineveh, which is part of a neat reading from the prophet Jonah we're hearing this week. So, you know, maybe you might enjoy reading the whole thing…it'll give you some background to help reinforce the totally cool meaning of this Sunday's First Reading.

Well, I've held you long enough…thanks for reading. I thank God for sending His Spirit down upon us tonight, and pray for the salvation of every person on earth!

And for you…we prayed for you. Please remember us. Thank you!

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <---the best="" br="" come="" is="" to="" yet="">
P.S. The connection between Baptism and the healings in this Sunday's Readings is really cool, isn't it? And what about the connection between "thanksgiving" and the Eucharist???

Bruno of Segni (12th cent. A.D.): “They stood a long way off because no one in their
condition dared come too close. We stand a long way off too while we continue to sin. To be restored to health and cured of the leprosy of sin, we also must cry out: “Jesus, master, take pity on us.” That cry, however, must come not from our lips but from our heart, for the cry of the heart is louder: it pierces the heavens, rising up to the very throne of God.” (Bruno of Segni, On Luke’s Gospel 2.40; trans. E. Barnecut, p. 124)


Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn
Returning Thanks

A foreign leper is cleansed and in thanksgiving returns to offer homage to the God of Israel. We hear this same story in both the First Reading and Gospel today.

There were many lepers in Israel in Elisha’s time, but only Naaman the Syrian trusted in God’s Word and was cleansed (see Luke 5:12-14). Today’s Gospel likewise implies that most of the 10 lepers healed by Jesus were Israelites—but only a foreigner, the Samaritan, returned.

In a dramatic way, we’re being shown today how faith has been made the way to salvation, the road by which all nations will join themselves to the Lord, becoming His servants, gathered with the Israelites into one chosen people of God, the Church (see Isaiah 56:3-8).

Today’s Psalm also looks forward to the day when all peoples will see what Naaman sees—that there is no God in all the earth except the God of Israel.

We see this day arriving in today’s Gospel. The Samaritan leper is the only person in the New Testament who personally thanks Jesus. The Greek word used to describe his “giving thanks” is the word we translate as “Eucharist.”

And these lepers today reveal to us the inner dimensions of the Eucharist and sacramental life.

We, too have been healed by our faith in Jesus. As Naaman’s flesh is made again like that of a little child, our souls have been cleansed of sin in the waters of Baptism. We experience this cleansing again and again in the Sacrament of Penance—as we repent our sins, beg and receive mercy from our Master, Jesus.

We return to glorify God in each Mass, to offer ourselves in sacrifice—falling on our knees before our Lord, giving thanks for our salvation.

In this Eucharist, we remember “Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David,” Israel’s covenant king. And we pray, as Paul does in today’s Epistle, to persevere in this faith—that we too may live and reign with Him in eternal glory.