Homily – Fr. Carlos Rodriguez – October 9, 2022
28th Sunday C
Plato’s spoke of man who lived in a cave, as he gets mature, he realizes that reality is inconceivably greater than his knowledge of his limited cave. Give the example too of the animals who lived their entire life in a zoo with artificial environment and then released in the wild: the hesitancy to leave the cage, the cautious feeling of the grass for the first time, it is like the whole being of the animal could not withstand the explosion of new realities. Like the man in the cave, he sees for the first time the wonder of the sun and the beautiful colors of the grass and flowers and the magnificence of the trees and his surroundings. As All these we take for granted, and with indifference. It is not by our superior insight, as Thomas Carlyle, says, that makes us indifferent, but we have become sated by wonder…it is by our superior levity, our inattention, our want of insight.” We do not want to think anymore; we are satisfied with a faith based on what is to be believed, that is, the contents of faith like dogmas, doctrines, catechisms, traditions, monastic rules, and authority. These are all important and necessary but on their own they are incomplete. They do not tell us HOW to believe or WHOM to believe, and for that, we need to meet the living God who cares for us, who helps and strengthen us in time of difficulties and doubts. It is meeting a God who does not give answers to our dilemmas nor gives a blueprint of life. It is a God who accompanies us through life and helps us to make the right decisions and gives us humility to accept what we have done wrong and amend ourselves. Of the ten lepers one came back to thank Jesus, a Samaritan. Apparently, leprosy is a great leveler. In normal times no Jew would associate with a Samaritan and here we see him among leprous Jews. It is interesting to note that, in most languages, to thank comes not from a primary verb but a derivative of the verb to think. So Naaman, the foreigner, was cleansed of his leprosy because he started thinking on what his servant told him. The logic of his servant made sense. If the prophet told him to do some extraordinary thing, he would do it. So why not a simple thing. And because nowadays we think very little, we consequently give little thanks. Many simply followed what was told them, what was in the law, namely report to the priests to confirm if one is really healed. It was as if the approval of the temple authorities is more important than Jesus’ healing. They have not experienced the power that flowed through Christ except for one, a Samaritan. God’s wonders can be found in an unexpected manner, in this case, a Samaritan who is hated by Jews of Jesus time. The Samaritan thought for a while and came back right away realizing that he just met the Messiah in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The one who comes to heal the sick and forgive sins. He met the living God in the Messiah. He realized the authority of Jesus is above that of the temple authorities. He experienced the love of Jesus and not only of a prophet who perfunctorily heals. In short, he was thinking felt Jesus’ power come over him. This is the illness of our times. We don’t think enough, we do not thank enough. We feel entitled. We think we deserve the service done to us. The world owes me. Because we do not think, perhaps meditate, or contemplate we cannot see the good done to us by others as related to the goodness of God. No one can do good unless God is behind it. Any goodness done comes from the goodness of God. As the saying goes: little knowledge is dangerous. Ignorance makes the ignorant all knowing. It will be difficult for that individual to thank. It will make him/her feel indebted to others. They never see the connection of the one who does good to God. Not to think is to wall ourselves in. Life will always be a threat to us. So that prayer is seldom a prayer of thanks. It will be for protection, for a favor, to avenge oneself against an enemy, to ask God to make others to see how we see. It is always about one’s needs. The other nine lepers were so eager to go back to the normal world: to attend to their business, to be once reinstated in society with their self-importance, to reclaim once more the prestige and honor they have lost. It is most of the time self-interest, one’s worth in the eyes of others. They forgot Jesus who healed them. If it is too difficult for us to say thanks to another, at least, say a prayer of thanks and pray that the one who did good to us may always remain the same. In this age of Googleism where we can find practically all the answers we are looking for in a splite second, let us try do some good, honest thinking, which hopefully will lead us to say thank you.