Liturgy of the Sunday

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Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Memorial of the patriarch Abraham. In faith he journeyed to a land that he did not know, but that was promised to him by God. Because of this faith, he is called the father of believers by Jews, Christians and Muslims


First Reading

2 Kings 5,14-17

So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child. Returning to Elisha with his whole escort, he went in and, presenting himself, said, 'Now I know that there is no God anywhere on earth except in Israel. Now, please, accept a present from your servant.' But Elisha replied, 'As Yahweh lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing.' Naaman pressed him to accept, but he refused. Then Naaman said, 'Since your answer is "No," allow your servant to be given as much earth as two mules may carry, since your servant will no longer make burnt offerings or sacrifice to any god except Yahweh.

Psalmody

Psalm 97

Antiphon

Shout and sing praises to the Lord.

Sing a new song to the Lord
for he has worked wonders.

His right hand and his holy arm
have brought salvation.

The lord has made known his salvation;
has shown his justice to the nations.

He has remembered his truth and love
for the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our god.

Shout to the Lord all the earth,
ring out your joy.

Sing Psalms to the Lord with the harp
with the sound of music.

With trumpets and the sound of the horn
acclaim the Kind, the Lord.

Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
the world, and all its peoples.

Let the river clap their hands
and the hills ring out their joy

at the presence of the Lord : for he comes,
he comes to rule the earth.

He will rule with the world with justice
and the peoples with fairness.

Second Reading

2 Timothy 2,8-13

Remember the gospel that I carry, 'Jesus Christ risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David'; it is on account of this that I have to put up with suffering, even to being chained like a criminal. But God's message cannot be chained up. So I persevere for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they, too, may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. Here is a saying that you can rely on: If we have died with him, then we shall live with him. If we persevere, then we shall reign with him. If we disown him, then he will disown us. If we are faithless, he is faithful still, for he cannot disown his own self.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 17,11-19

Now it happened that on the way to Jerusalem he was travelling in the borderlands of Samaria and Galilee. As he entered one of the villages, ten men suffering from a virulent skin-disease came to meet him. They stood some way off and called to him, 'Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.' When he saw them he said, 'Go and show yourselves to the priests.' Now as they were going away they were cleansed. Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself prostrate at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. This led Jesus to say, 'Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.' And he said to the man, 'Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

Jesus finds himself in the territory of Jezebel, between the region of Galilee and Samaria. While entering the village, ten lepers approached him (it was easy to encounter them near inhabited places). Keeping their distance, as the law prescribed, they shouted out to him, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" Jesus does not avoid them, as generally all do, but even stops to talk to them. Then, he sends them away, saying, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." He does not heal them right away as he had done in other cases (Lk 5:12-16) nor does he touch them with his hands. Rather, he sends them to see the priests, asking for an act of faith on their part. The ten lepers immediately obey and set out toward the priests. The evangelist notes that as they were walking they were "made clean" or, we could say, they became aware that they were healed. All of this is not without meaning: the healing, the miracle, is not a prodigious fact that occurred suddenly as if it were the result of some magic. We could compare the first part of this Gospel story with the first steps of every conversion and of every disciple's life. Conversion, furthermore, always arises from a cry, from a prayer, just like the cry of those ten lepers. Every Sunday liturgy, at its very beginning, makes us repeat, "Lord, have mercy!" Healing is rooted in our recognizing our illness, our need for help, protection and support.
As we read in the Apostle's Letter, the Word of God is never chained: it speaks freely and powerfully, always. The problem, if anything, is us who do not listen, either because we are distrustful or because we are full of our own words. This means that healing begins when we begin to obey the Gospel, and not ourselves or our worldly habits. In this sense, our spiritual journey will bring us healing, in heart and body, to the extent that it is marked by listening to the Gospel.
The Gospel after having noted that all of the ten lepers were healed, adds that only one turned back "praising God with a loud voice" and as soon as he saw Jesus "he prostrated himself at his feet and thanked him." The evangelist wants to underline a further step in conversion: that is being grateful to Jesus and entrusting one's life to him. Complete healing also touches the heart. We could say that the tenth leper was not only "made clean," but was also "saved." He is an example to all of us to welcome God's free compassion for our life and to thank Him for having bent down upon us.