The readings portray two remarkable foreigners. In the first reading we meet Naaman, a foreigner, a powerful commander of one of Israel’s enemy’s armies.
In the Gospel we meet a leper -- an outcast not only because of his leprosy but because he is a Samaritan, a foreigner. And not just any foreigner, a Samaritan! We have been over this many times. The Samaritans were considered to be almost “sub-humans,” out-siders not part of the House of Israel!
The actions of gratitude of the two foreigners are truly admirable, but the most remarkable lesson may quite possibly be found in the character of God. In the healing of both foreigners, complete “outsiders”, we see the universal scope of God’s salvation.
In both instances, we are shown that God’s love and salvation have no ethnic or racial boundaries or borders. God’s love is universal and without limits.
The only fitting response to God’s wondrous love for us is joyful thanksgiving and a willingness to emulate this love and healing by following Jesus’ example and command to love our neighbor as our sleves.
Jesus calls us to reach out to the leper, to the lost, the lonely, the outcast and the immigrant and the refugee… all those denied justice and whom the world despises.
We are called to embrace them all -- to be the loving arms of our God present in the midst of hatred, violence, racism and marginalization.
As we continue to reflect on this weekend’s readings, let us ask ourselves: What am I grateful for in my life? Who are the lepers, the outcasts, the marginalized in my life that I am called to open up my arms and embrace? And how can I embrace them?