READINGS: 2 Kings 5:14-17/ 2 Timothy 2:8-13/ Luke 17:11-19
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Naaman was cured of his leprosy (cf. 2 Kings 5:14-17); and Jesus cured ten lepers (cf. Luke 17:11-19).  We may not be lepers, judging by our physical appearance and health; but we may be spiritual lepers.  However, there is great news for us: Jesus can cure both physical and spiritual leprosy!

Sin is spiritual leprosy.  As physical lepers are quarantined for fear of spreading the infectious disease, so sin (spiritual leprosy) creates a distance between us and God. As leprosy disfigures a person physically, so sin disfigures us in spirit.  In other words, sin distorts the “image and likeness” of the All-Holy God.  Again, as physical leprosy makes its victims lose their fingers, toes, etc., so sin makes us lose “aspects” of our souls. Though a soul is not a quantitative but a qualitative entity, it might be instructive to imagine that because of our sins, some of us are ½, ¼, 1/10, etc. of the original souls God created for us.

This notwithstanding, there is good news for us: Jesus Christ wants to restore the wholeness of our fractioned souls.  However, He wants us to play a part in the process of restoration – it is a simple task.  In the case of Naaman, he was told to wash seven times in the Jordan. He refused initially; however, when he later accepted (with faith) the instruction of the prophet Elisha and washed in the Jordan, the result was amazing! It was more than a full restoration of his adult skin: his skin became “like that of a little child”!  In the case of the ten lepers in the Gospel, Jesus gave this simple instruction: “Go and show yourself to the priest” (Luke 17:14).  By accepting the instruction with faith, they were healed on their way.

Therefore, if we have not been baptized, then like Naaman who washed in the Jordan, we need the waters of baptism (which signify the cleansing power of the precious blood of Jesus) to cleanse our souls of the spiritual leprosy of sin.  If, however, we have already been baptized, then, let us, like the ten lepers, heed (with faith) the Lord Jesus and go and show ourselves to the priest at the confessional.  Then, the damaged “skins” (quality) of our souls will be restored to their original status – they will become better than the pure and innocent souls of children.  Amen!

By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis

Bishop John Kobina Louis

Most Rev. John Kobina Louis is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana. More about him here.

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Catholic Homilies and Sermons for the Liturgical Year by Most Rev. John Kobina Louis, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana.

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