2Kings 5: 14-17; Luke 17: 11-19
Without a doubt, these healing stories we hear have so much more to do than with the physical healings taking place. For those of us that are healthy, it would be easy to “write-off” these stories because it’s not where we are at; and yet, the physical part is almost secondary in the First Reading and Gospel today. It is so often preconceived judgments and perceptions that we hold onto that grow into a pride that often stands in the way of the healing that is truly necessary.
Such is the case in the First Reading today. It’s unfortunate that we only hear the end of the story because we miss its point in its totality. Naaman is looking for healing from his leprosy but he wants it in his way. He has such a narrow vision as to how God can work, that he misses the call to the greater healing in his life. He’s a military leader and he believes that he deserves better than the Jordan River and this wrestling match with God and the other leaders ensue until he finally gets over himself and he goes to where he is led for healing, the Jordan River. Of course, not just for healing from the leprosy, but a letting go of his pride and who he thought God was; he can begin to see that God can work through everything and everyone to lead us to healing and wholeness.
The nine others in the Gospel miss the point in their own healing. Yes, they are healed from their leprosy, but have they been healed of what lies beneath. There was an expectation as Jewish people, the chosen ones, that God would heal, and again, a healing that is narrow, only for those that are chosen. Yet, along comes the Samaritan that heals and returns; there is something different about this one. It often takes the experience of being an outsider to truly understand the healing that takes place with the tenth guy who returns. This one was looking for something more than just healing, he was looking for wholeness and a return to oneness with the community. The readings stand in contrast in that way…Naaman finally surrenders his judgements and perceptions of how and where God can lead and work with the nine that somewhat feel entitled to a healing, but for all we know, never experience that same wholeness in their lives.
As people, we must seek such healing in our own lives…of the preconceived judgments and perceptions that we have of ourselves, others, and God because it holds us back from receiving such wholeness. It holds us back as a community from becoming one and keeps our heart bound by our pride. Today we pray for that awareness and to be conscious of those judgments and perceptions that we often inflict on others, God, and ourselves, and pray for healing. Maybe not in the way we think it should be, again, that is simply a judgment on the workings of God, but maybe in the most unexpected way, as it is with Naaman, for God can truly use anything and anyone to bring about healing and wholeness in our lives.