HOMILY FOR THE 28TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C .
THEME: OBEDIENCE AND GRATITUDE
BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY OCTOBER 9 2022
Today’s readings speak about the healing of lepers. Healing is God’s response to our suffering. For us, we need to trust and obey God’s word that guides us on the path of wholeness. How well we trust God’s word depends on our level of faith in Him. So in the readings of today, we have obedience and Gratitude as two themes bearing down to faith.
Dear friends in Christ, it will not be helpful to reduce this Sunday’s readings to merely talking about healing. It is important to note that these readings call us to faith. Because like Naaman and the other lepers, God is sending us on the road we do not know how it will end. But it is by obeying and going on this road of faith that we are healed. At first, Naaman was reluctant to go and bathe in the Jordan, but when he was persuaded by his servants he obeyed – bathed seven times in the Jordan and his leprosy was taken away and his flesh was restored. The same obedience goes for the ten lepers in the gospel passage. Jesus asked them to go and show themselves to the priests. They obeyed and on their way they were cured of their leprosy. In every situation of our life, we just have to trust God and obey. “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus; but to trust and obey.”
Gratitude they say is the concrete step towards happiness. Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness. By showing gratitude we affirm that there are good things in the world, good health, protection, promotion, success, gifts and benefits we have received. Our gratitude goes further to show that we recognize that the source of this goodness is outside of ourselves. Ten lepers were cured by Jesus in the gospel, but only one returned glorifying God and thanking him, and it was to that particular one that Jesus says “Your faith has saved you.” The more gratitude we show the more blessing we stand to receive, because gratitude strengthens our relationship with God.
The first lesson from these stories presented in our readings today is that, when we pray to God for a favour, we do not dictate how God should answer our prayer. God knows best what is best for each of us. While Naaman complained about the choice of river Jordan to bathe in, the ten lepers did not complain. They did not say “We ask for healing, he is asking us to go and show ourselves to the priests.”
The second lesson is that, in our relationship with God, there is no room for pride. Naaman had to humble himself and bathe in the water of river Jordan, not once but seven times. River Jordan at that time was not one of the cleanest rivers known around. Some people miss out on God’s blessing for them because of pride and arrogance. They become so full of themselves that they would not be where they should be, or do what they should do when God’s blessing passes by.
How many of us are drawn to gratitude following the daily blessings we receive from God? Often, we are ungrateful to God, although we receive so much from him, we often take it for granted. We allow the negatives of our daily lives – health problems, financial worries, business and relationship disappointments to hide from us the blessings we have received. How many of us are grateful to our parents? Very often we are not and we consider them nuisance. Although in the past we are dependent on them for literally everything.
Although we may not suffer physical leprosy, the “spiritual leprosy” of sin makes us unclean before God. The Samaritan leper received healing like the other nine lepers, but only his gratitude won him salvation. This clearly shows to us that everything is not about our material and physical wellbeing. Everything is about our spiritual wellbeing, the salvation our soul. Since Jesus is not afraid to touch our deepest impurities, let us not hide them. Let us cry out to him for healing, like the lepers did, so that he might heal us from the spiritual leprosy of sin.
*Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya*