OMELIE / Omelie EN

13 ott 2019
13/10/2019 – 28th in O. T. Year C

13/10/2019 – 28th in O. T. Year C

Reading 1 2KGS 5,14-17 * Psalm 97 * Reading 2 2TM 2,8-13 * Gospel LK 17,11-19


In the month of October the Church is thinking about its missionary task and they pray for the missions and the missionaries. The first reading helps us to think of this. Naaman, army officer in the Sirian army, enemy of the people of Israel and pagan, is healed thanks to the prophet Elisha's prayer.

Elisha refuses every reward coming from his beneficiary's hands: he is also witness in this way of the gratuity of his God’s love, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In this way he is witness of the beauty and greatness of the goodness of a God unknown to the pagans, completely new, a God who loves men, and therefore He does not treat them as slaves, nor He asks them to pay for the works of His love.

The officer, in order to be granted health, had to prove a faith that had been trying his pride: he had to obey an invitation even too easy to follow. It was so easy that, for pride, he would not have done it, if his servant had not insisted: he had to dip himself seven times in the waters of the river Jordan. In this way he could get to know a God that asks for little in order to give much.

So this man, not being able to offer a reward to the prophet, wants to show directly to God the thankfulness for the renewed health, and he does it in this way: he takes with him as much earth as two mules can carry; he will make a patch of the earth of the people of the God of Israel in order for him to be able to kneel on it and adore this God! We might smile about this idea, but in the culture of that people this concreteness of faith was the only way to demonstrate their conversion to that God, he had met through his newly-found health and the selfless action of His prophet.

Nobody has been a ‘missionary’ for Naaman. Nobody told him he needed to convert, nobody has told him about God. Elisha gave him an order, the servants helped him to follow it, and he, humbling himself, was able to get to know God as a Father who loves him.

Jesus too acts in this way: He loves the ten lepers that walk towards Him, He listens to them, talks to them, gives them what they want, even if they are recognised by everyone as condemned by God. Jesus too asks of them as a sign of faith an easy obedience. Nine of them are Jews: they take the healing as a right, and they keep walking getting further away from the very one who had granted them their wish, from Jesus.

They do not want to see in their healing an omen: happy to have regained their health, they do not grow in their love for God. The only Samaritan of the group understands that having been healed is a grace that was undeserved. He goes back to Jesus in order to recognise in Him the presence of God and the power of His love. He goes back to throw himself at His feet, as to say: “Here I am, I am your servant, do of me what you desire according to your wisdom. If you loved and benefited me so much to make my leprosy disappear, you can love and benefit me also using my life for you goals, for your kingdom. I will rise again in order to serve you.”. This man, with his thankfulness has given glory to God, has made Him known as the God who loves men as children.

We are all spared people. We have received from God demonstrations of love in many forms, above all through forgiveness. Now we cannot hide in our ingratitude the name of the one who loves us, but we need to make it resound and we need to make His love shine through our availability to serve in the kingdom of God.

Saint Paul gives us a live example. He, from prison, writes Timothy telling his faith, his suffering love, his desire for many to be saved. He knows he has been saved for free, that he has been taken from a religious life lived as imposition and from imagining God as someone able to impose and do violence, and therefore from a faith built on pride. He, saved from this fake religiousness, has been helped, thanks to Jesus, to offer himself, to make himself available to the Father’s love in order to preach all peoples the Word of freedom and peace, so the Lord Jesus Christ.

The missionaries of the Church keep making the God of love and peace known through gestures of love. I also keep being a missionary for you, and for everyone I will meet, by loving you and obeying those who received the task and the grace to address me in God's name. And I would like to ask you to be missionary for me too, I who need to keep up for long still my way towards conversion to the God of love and peace. Living in the know that we are missionaries, so tools of God’s love, gives strength, courage, and a lot of joy!


Next Sunday we will celebrate the world missionary day: let us pray so the Christians live their faith in public too, and so the news of salvation can be brought to every people!