My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As I was saying before, we welcome today our brothers and sisters who are part of the organization, Catholics in Media Associates. We are remembering today the 50th anniversary of World Communications Day, which was instituted by the Second Vatican Council.
So today we want to pray in a special way for all those who work in the media, and especially to pray for Catholics and others who are trying to use the media to express the beauty of creation, the dignity of the human person, and the mercy of God. Let’s keep praying for that intention as we know how important it is in our society — the means of communication.
Our Gospel this Sunday gives us the story that we all know well of the 10 lepers who are healed by Jesus. And as we heard, only one of them, a Samaritan —a foreigner, an immigrant — returned to say “thank you” to Jesus.
And we heard a similar story in the first reading, from the Second Book of Kings.
We heard about Naaman — another foreigner, a Syrian —who is healed by the word of the prophet Elisha. He also comes back to say, “thank you.”
We have here are two stories of gratitude — thankfulness to God. But more than that. They are stories of the saving power of God — his salvation. A gift that we must accept — all of us — by the response of faith.
Jesus says to the healed man who returns: “Stand up, your faith has saved you.” And in that first reading we hear Naaman making a beautiful confession of faith:
“Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”
This is it, my dear brothers and sisters! No other way of salvation in all the earth, no other God. And God in his love comes to heal our wounds, our sufferings — but he wants to do more than that. He wants to open our hearts to his love, to his mercy and forgiveness. He heals our wounds in order to heal and save our soul.
So today we are called especially to reflect on the saving power of God — and it is a power that he shows to every one, regardless of where they come from or where they live. So the readings today remind us that his salvation is offered to every person — to Jews, Samaritans, Syrians, foreigners and immigrants — to everyone!
It is the beautiful reality of God’s love for each one of us! We are so special to him — no matter what is the situation of our life.
And I’m sure that you noticed that in the Gospel today, Jesus sees the lepers standing far from him and he reaches out to them — he speaks to them a word of mercy, a word of consolation.
And probably what happened is that they were calling him because they knew that he would be able to cure them. So, my dear brothers and sisters — understanding that saving power of God as we are witnesses today in the readings from Sacred Scripture — we also need to call Jesus and he will reach out to us, we need to ask him to have mercy on us, we need to ask him to give us strength in our weakness.
This is God’s way of reaching out to us. This is God’s way for every soul. He wants all of us — every family, every nation — to come to the knowledge of salvation in the forgiveness of sins. He wants us to find holiness, he wants all of us to accept this beautiful healing that he comes to bring us. Healing of body and soul, mind and spirit.
In his love, God makes every one of us — each one of us — “chosen people.”
St. Paul in today’s second reading gives us a glorious description of his mission: “Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal glory.”
And my brothers and sisters, this is our mission, too. As we receive the healing power of God, our mission is to take it to our brothers and sisters in our world.
The Church is the “sacrament” of God’s plan — the sign and the instrument that makes real God’s plan for salvation through Jesus Christ, his promise of eternal glory for those who believe in his saving love.
And we are called to proclaim his loving plan.
In a sense, we are called to follow Jesus’ example and reach out to others — to share with them the merciful love of God.
But we need to be attentive, we need to detect when people are calling us. Maybe just in the reality of daily life, when they see that they need advice or they need to talk to somebody or they need our good example — that’s the beautiful way in which we can bring the love and mercy of God to the people of our time.
And this is the mystery that the Church is called to communicate — the merciful love of God. All of us — my dear brothers and sisters, we all have the responsibility for the mission of the Church.
All of us have this responsibility to communicate the good news of God’s loving plan — through the way we live out our lives, through the media, through our work, through our family relationships — in the way we are and in the way we do things.
It is a beautiful mission — the mission of evangelization of the Church. That’s why Pope Francis is asking all of us to be missionary disciples.
So today, let us come back to Jesus in gratitude, in thanksgiving for his mercy and kindness to us. Faith begins when we return to Jesus and say, “Thank you, Lord.” It is faith that saves us. Faith in his power, faith in the grace he gives us. Faith brings us into contact with the living God.
As that one leper did, let us praise him for his goodness to us, let us recognize that everything we have — all of creation — is a gift of God’s love.
That’s exactly what we are do today and every Sunday, and everyday when we celebrate the Eucharist. Eucharist, as we all know, means “thanksgiving.” The Eucharist is the thanksgiving that we are offering to god — thanking him for the gift of Jesus, for the gift of his mercy.
And of course, as we know the gift of faith is meant to be shared, as we are reflecting on today — to be communicated. So in this Eucharist, let us prayer for the grace and strength, for the creativity to find new ways and new mediums to communicate faith.
And let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary to guide all of us, especially those who have the vocation of communication — that they might use their talents to glorify God and to bring many people to know his loving mercy.