We are sometimes confronted with the statement that “nothing will come of this man”, “come on, he won’t change”, “he is not worth talking to”. God is interested in every human being, without exception. Also in non-believers or those whose views of the world around us differ from our own. We have a lot of them around us, perhaps even more than believers. It is good news that God has surprising ways of reaching them. Let us not discard them. There are thousands or perhaps millions of such stories in the history of the world. Certainly a great many. In the second reading we hear a passage from one of St Paul’s pastoral letters. They were addressed to his disciples – this one to Timothy. It was written in prison, moments before Paul’s death, and is defined as his testament. In this case, one does not spare one’s words, but writes, communicates the most important information, issues, decisions for a person. Paul writes about his conversion and its spiritualeffects.Werecall: Paul was a Jew who, by all means, fought against the emerging Church. He attended the killing by stoning of St Stephen.
Paul now writes as a mature, converted, disciple of Christ. This is written by a man whom Christians feared before and after his conversion. No one wanted to be with him and introduce him to Christianity, except Ananias, who was asked to do so by Christ the Lord in a vision.
Today we know such people too, they are even around us.
They criticise the Church, the people of the Church, sometimes God, persecute in word and sometimes in deed, and turn on our communities.
Jesus is travelling to Jerusalem. As St Luke records in today’s Gospel, ten lepers came to Him.
This disease was a death sentence at the time and was seen by some as a punishment for sins. They were not immediately healed, as they had to go to show themselves to the priests so that the priests would confirm the healing. On the way they were cleansed of their illness.
Only the Samaritan returns. This one showed gratitude, not the other nine who considered themselves full Jews. Once again in the Gospel we see God healing, supporting a despised person. All were cleansed of their illness, but only this one healed more deeply, of unbelief, of doubt. God, even today, supports and blesses the despised, the weak, the finger-pointed. He wants to bring them to know themselves. We have a good God who excludes no one from His circle of interest.
It is we sometimes as humans who are not interested in God. Some of us through unbelief, some through the poor witness of our evangelical lives, and some because they feel hopeless and believe that God is not interested in them. There can be many reasons for this.
Also those closest to our families. Let us rejoice that God does not exclude them and supports them. Let us be patient, let us live the Gospel more. God – perhaps through us – will eventually bring them to himself.