A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Learning the right thing from the “wrong” people

Today’s Gospel and first reading (Luke 17:11-19 and 2 Kings 5:14-17) both involve non-Jews who are cured of leprosy and who are exemplary in giving thanks to God.

In the Gospel, the Samaritan is the only one of the ten cured lepers to return to Christ and give thanks.

In the first reading, the commander of a foreign army responds to his healing by resolving to worship only Israel’s God, taking actual earth from the Holy Land as a symbolic connection.

In both cases, foreigners with strange religious backgrounds exemplify particular aspects of the right worship of the true God: reminding God’s chosen people of things that they should already be remembering and doing themselves.

These readings remind us of the universalism of God’s action in the world, without taking anything away from the unique role of the Jewish people, the uniquely inspired truth of Judeo-Christian revelation, the unique instrumentality of Christ’s Church, or Christ himself as being the sole source of salvation and the one mediator between God and men.

These readings also remind us of how we ourselves sometimes need to be reminded of the truths we embraced in our baptism, even if those reminders come from unusual people and sources.

This is not to open the doors to relativism: there is only one truth, one Lord and Savior, and one God.

Also, we must be very, very careful not to learn the wrong lessons from other religions, but we should not be afraid to let the faithful of other religions – in whatever good things they may do or say - remind us of the truth we already believe and should already be living in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.