Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Luke 17.11-19

 
"Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you"

In today's changing world of technology, medicine, science and education, with all its pressures and tensions, religious faith is often a casualty. The idea of a personal God who invites us into a personal relationship lies outside of the perceived ‘realities’ of life for many people. The words, ideas, values and practices which the Church employs to make God known would appear to be losing their meaning and impact in our increasingly secularised society. Yet, today as much as ever, the gift of faith remains our greatest treasure.

Jesus is always careful to point out, as he does in today's Gospel passage, that it is faith that matters. “Your faith has saved you”, he says, “Stand up and go on your way - in faith”. Constantly he repeats: “it is your faith that makes you whole”. Such faith, faith understood in the sense of awareness of and openness to God, invites us to reach beyond ourselves and beyond the apparent ‘certainties’ of our limited experience, to place our entire lives, our well being and our happiness in God’s hands.

Through our readings today we are presented with two surprising examples of faith - a Syrian army officer named Naaman, and an unnamed Samaritan leper. Despised as foreigners, hated and feared as lepers, regarded as worthless sinners, they were both outsiders to God’s chosen people. But not to God. God’s loving presence is everywhere, for everyone. No one is an outsider to God’s universal love. In their new-found faith in God, Naaman offered thanksgiving sacrifice and the Samaritan praised God at the top of his voice. We join them in thanks and praise for that faith in which we too have access to the same loving, healing, saving presence of God, and we seek to make known to our hardened world that this healing presence of God is everywhere and for all.