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    St. Mary's Parish
    211 Avenue O South
    Saskatoon, SK
    S7M 2R6

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28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Importance of Faith

By Fr. Tim Uniac, C.R.

The Books of Kings, both 1st and 2nd, cover the period from the death of King David (970 BCE) to the fall of the Kingdom of Judah in 586 BCE. Today’s passage falls within the time of the prophetic stories of Elijah and Elisha, during the days of the Aramaean wars. Damascus is the center of Aramaean power and is at war with the northern Kingdom of Israel. This information, and the verses immediately preceding today’s reading (5:1-13), are important in helping us understand the reading for today. Naaman, a great military general and commander of the army of the King of Aram, from the Aramaean power centre of Damascus, suffers from leprosy. One of his servant girls, a slave captured from the land of Israel, suggests Naaman go to Samaria and seek out the man of God (Elisha) for a cure. Naaman finds Elisha who instructs him to bathe in the River Jordan. Naaman is angered by this instruction for it is too simple a task for such a great man as he … after all, the rivers in Damascus are surely better than the River Jordan! The servants of Naaman eventually convince him to bathe in the Jordan by telling him if the task were difficult he would have gladly carried it out, so what’s the harm in an easy task? This brings us to today’s reading. Naaman is cured, and proclaims there is no greater god than the God of Israel. The great and powerful military leader, from the great city of Damascus, at war with the northern Kingdom of Israel, is cured by the God of his enemies.

The Gospel today, like the first reading, presents us with a curing of leprosy, and like the first reading, the cure comes by a simple command: bathe in the River Jordan, and show yourselves to the priest. Like Naaman in the first reading, the cured leper who returns to Jesus does so “praising God in a loud voice.” Unlike the first reading the Gospel reveals that the cure was the result of faith on the part of those seeking to be cured, the lepers show their faith, twice! The first time is when they ask to be cured, the second time is when they go off to show themselves to the priest. This Gospel passage, and the Gospel passages for the past three weeks, have shown us the importance of faith in God and the importance of giving thanks to God for what was done. A reminder to us that our faith encounter with Jesus should evoke a response of praise and gratitude on our parts.

The second reading, from Paul to Timothy, takes on the form of a farewell discourse, for Paul knows he will soon die. In the letter, Paul puts himself forward as an example, an example for others to follow. Paul says he is willing to suffer hardships for the Gospel, and that he does so for the sake of others “so that they may also obtain the salvation …”. Paul is exhorting Timothy (and us) to remember his faithful testimony of the Gospel, to be inspired by his example, and to follow in his footsteps.



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