28th Sunday Year C - Homily 1

Homily 1 - 2010

I find today’s Gospel intriguing: Jesus’ comment to the Samaritan - Your faith has saved you.

What about the others? Their skin had been healed. They were back with their families and loved ones. They could work and earn a crust and no longer have to beg or go hungry. Their lives were back to normal. But saved? It seems that normality falls short of salvation. What is being saved, then? Being saved from normality?

What led Jesus to comment as he did to the Samaritan was that he had come back praising God and thanking Jesus. Praising God and thanking Jesus! What is so wonderful about that? It’s that question that has me pondering.

What had happened to him, inside him, that led him to praise God and to thank Jesus? He began to praise God. His healing had triggered something. He began to feel differently. He began to see life differently.

My thought is that somehow his life began to fall into perspective. His life began to have meaning, beyond the former narrow boundaries of everyday life of family and friends and work. There was more to everyday life than he had ever realised before. God was suddenly in it – or, perhaps, the God who had always been in it, he began to see for the first time: God in life. Perhaps, better, the Mystery in life: The things we do can take us beyond ourselves to something else, beyond ourselves.

Love and trust and hope, expressed in ordinary things, resonate out beyond us, into eternity, into mystery, into God. Indeed, they are what we shall take with us –all we take with us – when we step eventually from this life into the next.

As we live our lives, we make contact with mystery, with God. We begin to see that we draw our power to love, to trust, from somewhere beyond us. We see that we’re at home in the Universe. The world continues to evolve according to its evolutionary dynamics – things happen,good things, bad things. But in the midst of whatever happens, we find the mysterious power, somehow, to keep on loving, to keep on trusting, even in the dark and confusion, We keep going in everything that is authentically human.

We’re never alone. We matter. Our lives matter. We connect with God.As we open ourselves to recognise all this, to experience all this, we can’t but praise – not in words, so much, as in deep wonder, and gratitude and patience.

For the Samaritan leper, as Jesus healed him, the penny suddenly dropped. For the first time, he saw life in all its depths and in all its wonder. And he found himself freed up not just to praise God, but, in profound gratitude, to thank Jesus extravagantly, exuberantly.

People whose hearts beat consistently with wonder and praise find that thanking others flows spontaneously. The Samaritan’s life would never just be normal again. His faith – his new vision – had saved him.