God Doesn’t Care About Human-Made Border

Missionary Weekly Reflection
Twenty Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time, 13 October 2019
2Kings 5:14-17; Ps. 98:1,2-3ab,3cd-4; 2Tim. 2:8-13; Luk. 17:11-19

This Gospel is about border and distance. Jesus walked to Jerusalem, travelling through Samaria and Galilee. Samaria was a non-indigenous territory: a mixed race that was not purely Jewish. Their religion was also labeled as incomplete and flawed. Usually the Jews was very careful in monitoring the border of the land; do not enter the profane land! They generally avoided Samaria region. Jesus did the opposite, travelling through the borders of Samaria and Galilee. That route allowed Him to meet the residents from both regions. He did not care about human-made borders. Jesus reminded us to be a unifier not a separator, to be an intermediary not a provocateur among humans.

The lepers lived at the outer boundary (end side of the society). They were separated and isolated from the residence. They were not allowed to join the worship and social activities. Their presence had to be made clear through their clothes and messy hair. They had to shout to make people not come close to them. Their presence was not expected. Distance and border between them and healthy people should be clear. As the border of region and city gate was overseen from profane things and people, so was the body border (skin) had to be monitored. Skin disease, like leprosy, made the body fluid that was supposed to be inside, seep out. That’s what made them profane, so did what they touched and was touched. However, the ten lepers came to God. They tried to bridge the distance and went beyond the barrier and border, though it’s only by the cry of mercy (v. 13).

God listened and healed them through His eyes and words. They were healed without being touched. Human cry always invites God’s loving gaze. They are healed as they are obedient. Believing and obeying God’s words can heal you and me. That is the means that bridges our distance from Him, who is no longer present physically. He is present in His words that we obey and experience in real life, and that we contemplate and celebrate in the worship.

The lepers had to be examined and declared clean by the priest at the House of God. But which House of God: in Jerusalem (Jewish) or at Gerizim mountain (Samaria)? It is not written that the Samaritan finally went to one of the Houses of God. On the way, he saw himself healed. That made him different from the other nine. He realized that the Lord had healed him through Jesus. Therefore he returned back to Jesus. House of God, the socio religious border and distance of Jewish-Samaria was no more important. All had been bridged by Jesus. The Samaritan became the model of faith: realizing God’s work in him, then turning into a new person who glorified the Lord in Jesus! However, there will be always more people who don’t know how to give thanks! God has healed many people in various forms and ways. How many return to glorify the Lord? How many give thanks to Jesus after he is healed? Ah, the Samaritan will always be the only one of ten!

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:

Harvesting season for mission work in the Church: May the breath of Holy Spirit seed and nourish the Church with the sprouting of effort and work for the new mission. We pray…

For Indonesian Churches intention:

Churches at the villages: Along with less young people who are willing to stay in the villages, may the local churches find the programs that can direct the youth to love and develop their own village. We pray…

Special Intention:

May the people in our Diocese support the nationalism of our youth, so they can continue their role in working together with other young fellowship to build fraternity wisely. We pray

Amen

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