Sunday Homilies by Fr. Rudolf V. D’ Souza

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28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 14, 2007 Year: C
2 Kgs. 5:14-7; 2 Tim. 2:8-13; Lk 17:11-19
Your faith has healed you

First Reading...
"Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram and a mighty warrior, obeyed Elisha: he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.

Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; Naaman came and stood before Elisha and said, 'Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant.

But Elisha said, 'As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing!' Naaman urged Elisha to accept, but he refused.

Then Naaman said, 'If not, please let two mule-loads of earth be given to your servant; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god except the Lord." [2 Kgs. 5:14- 7]

Second Reading...
"Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David - that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained.

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself." [2 Tim. 2:8-13]

Gospel Reading...
"On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee.

As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!'

When Jesus saw them, he said to them, 'Go and show yourselves to the priests.' And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him, And he was a Samaritan.

Then Jesus asked, 'Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?

Then Jesus said to the Samaritan, "get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well." [Lk. 17:11-19]

Once upon a time there was a man who was struck down in his early thirties who was diagnosed with brain cancer. He had a wife and young children and a promising career. Suddenly all of that was swept away from him. He could barely talk or walk. He was in constant agony. His friends and his family, except for his wife and mother, avoided him. The doctors shook their head. It was too bad. He was a nice man and deserved longer life. But there was nothing they could. At last he went to a very famous doctor who offered to operate on him, even though everyone else said the tumor was inoperable. The doctor warned the patient and his wife that he could very well die during the operation, though he (the doctor) was pretty sure that he would survive and return to health. They decided that they should take the risk. After nine hours of surgery, the doctor came into the waiting room, grinned at the man’s wife and said, “Got it!” The man recovered and went on to a happy and successful life. Twenty years later the surgeon died. We should go to the wake, the patient’s wife said. I’d like to, her husband replied. But it’s on the weekend and I have an important golf tournament.

Gospel Reflections:
The rules in the Hebrew law about “leprosy” (which covered a wide variety of contagious diseases and not merely what we know today as “Hansen’s Disease”) were intended to be a crude public health measure. It was necessary to protect the whole village from such infection, so those whose faces were covered with skin lesions were exiled until the infection had passed. The local priest was the public health official who pronounced the judgment. Not all such diseases were permanent like what we know as leprosy today. Since it was assumed that the lepers were being punished for their sins, their exile was all the more harsh. Small wonder that the cured lepers rushed home to their families and friends, yet they were thoughtless. Jesus did not need their gratitude, though surely he would have liked it. But they needed to be grateful.

From the literal sense of these words we learn, that one of the above lepers, under a sense of the mercy which he had received, returned to give thanks to his divine benefactor, acknowledging at the same time that he was both god and man; for it is said, that with a loud voice he glorified god, and then it is immediately added, that he fell down at His (God's) feet where by god's feet nothing can be meant but the lowest principle of His humanity. And from the spiritual sense of the same words, we are further taught a lesson of the greatest importance to be well apprehended, namely. that they, who are principled in the affection of truth, as was the case with this returning leper, are disposed to acknowledge the blessed Jesus, or god in a divine humanity, as the sum and substance of all representatives in the church, and to worship Him accordingly as the All in All, or the fullness and completion of every rite and ceremony, of every type and figure, by which, previous to His incarnation, He had been promised to the world in the book of Revelation. For by this leper turning back, is evidently meant his turning back from going to show himself to the priests; in other words, his turning back from what was merely representative; and by his glorifying god on the occasion, and falling down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks, is as evidently declared, that from what was representative he turned himself to what was represented, in His divine humanity, confessing Him, and Him alone, to be his deliverer from the evil of profanation, thus his restorer to all the purity, power, and blessedness of heavenly life, and consequently that divine person prefigured under every representative law, ordinance of the church.

We prove it from the circumstance of his being a Samaritan, for by the Samaritans, in the representative church, were denoted those who were principled in that affection, which is further confirmed by what is said in the parable of the good Samaritan, and also by the discourse which Jesus Christ held with the woman of Samaria at Jacob's well

Gratitude is the inner recognition of the good experienced.

Consider that recent academic studies have shown:

  • People who describe themselves as feeling grateful to others and either to God or to creation in general tend to have higher vitality and more optimism, suffer less stress, and experience fewer episodes of clinical depression than the population as a whole. These results hold even when researchers factor out such things as age, health, and income, equalizing for the fact that the young, the well-to-do, or the hale and hearty might have "more to be grateful for."
  • Grateful people tend to be less materialistic than the population as a whole and to suffer less anxiety about status or the accumulation of possessions. Partly because of this, they are more likely to describe themselves as happy or satisfied in life.
  • In an experiment with college students, those who kept a "gratitude journal," a weekly record of things they should feel grateful for, achieved better physical health, were more optimistic, exercised more regularly, and described themselves as happier than a control group of students who kept no journals but had the same overall measures of health, optimism, and exercise when the experiment began. (Researchers use frequency of exercise as a barometer for general well-being because it is an objective measure that links to subjective qualities; people who exercise three or more times per week tend to have better indicators of well-being, even when health conditions that affect the ability to exercise are factored out.)
  • Grateful people are more spiritually aware and more likely to appreciate the interconnectedness of all life, regardless of whether they belong to specific religions.

How to be grateful:

I wonder if any of you ever have the feeling that life is bad, real bad, and you wish you were in another situation. I admit I did pretty often. I find life make things difficult for me, work sucks, life sucks, everything seems to go was not until yesterday that I totally changed my views about life.

After a conversation with one of my friends, he told me despite having 2 jobs, he brings home barely one thousand dollars per month. He is happy as he is. I wondered how he could be as happy as he is considering he has to skimp on his life with the low pay to support a pair of old parents, in- laws, a wife, 2 daughters and the many bills of a household.

He explained that it was through one incident that he saw in India. This happened a few years ago, when he was really feeling low and touring India after a major setback. He said that right in front of his very eyes, he saw an Indian mother chop off her child’s right hand with a chopper. The helplessness in the mother’s eyes, the scream of pain from the innocent 4 year old child, haunted him until today.

You may ask why did the mother do so? Had the child been naughty, had the child’s hand been infected?? No, it was done for two simple words - - - TO BEG! The desperate mother deliberately caused the child to be handicapped so that the child could go out to the streets to beg. I cannot accept how this could happen, but it really did, just in another part of the world which I don’t see.

Taken aback by the scene, he dropped a half-eaten piece of bread. Almost instantly, a flock of 5 or 6 children swamped towards this small piece of bread, which was covered with sand, robbing bits from one another; the natural reaction of hunger. Stricken by the happenings, he instructed his guide to drive him to the nearest bakery!

He arrived at two bakeries and bought every single loaf of bread he found. The owners were dumbfounded but willingly sold everything. He spent less than $100 to obtain about 400 loaves of bread (this is less than $0.25 per loaf) and spent another $100 to get daily necessities.

Off he went, in the truck full of bread, into the streets. As he distributed the bread and necessities to the children (mostly handicapped) and a few adults, he received cheers and bows from these unfortunate. For the first time in his life he wondered how people could give up their dignity for a loaf of bread which cost less than $0.25.

He began to ask himself how fortunate he was? How fortunate he was to be able to have a complete body, have a job, have a family, have the chance to complain what food was nice and what wasn’t, have the chance to be clothed, have the many things that these people in front of him were deprived of... Now I began to think and feel it, too! Was my life really that bad?

Perhaps I should not feel bad at all...What about you? Maybe the next time you think you are, think about the child who lost one hand to beg on the streets.

“Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want; it is the realization of how much you already have.” THEREFORE, BE GRATEFUL

  Click here for other Sunday Homilies 

A New book from Fr. Rudy :
Short review of the book: This book is an out come of a serious exegetical study on the important words and texts from the writings of St John of the Cross. The study deals with a short life and writings of the mystic and then does a complete study on GOD, MAN and WAYS to EXPERIENCE GOD. The book is available at: St. Joseph Church, Near Holy Cross Convent School, Mira Road East, Thane Dt. Maharashtra State - 401 107, India. Books can be ordered through email: or

The cost of the book is Rs. 125/- pp.xviii + 234, The Title of the Book is: THE DYNAMISM OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH - An Exegetical Study on St. John of the Cross, author: Dr. Rudolf V. D' Souza, OCD, MA. PhD.

Dear friend, my homilies will be posted on Thursdays and you can benefit them and if you need more resources, you could contact me on or

Let us make this ministry fruitful one so that the Word of God becomes a source of joy for me and for you and help people become more aware of its riches. You are also welcome to share your feedback with me. Thanks and God bless. 




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