Outsiders, “others,” are prominent in Sunday Scriptures this week. In the Hebrew Scripture reading, we hear the ending of the Naaman story. He was a Syrian who comes to the Hebrew prophet Elijah for healing. The Gospel follows with the account of the curing of 10 lepers — themselves ostracized from society — and how one of them, a foreigner, an “other,” comes back to give thanks. It is late fall now, and so we are in the last weeks of lectionary Cycle C featuring the Gospel of Luke. Luke began his Gospel with the Christmas story where angels proclaim the good news is for “all the people.” In Luke’s companion volume Acts of the Apostles, the church of many “others,” a gentile church, is born. Today our nation is adjusting to the reality where “white people” aren’t the majority, and U.S. economic and political power is limited by many “other” nations. Our U.S. Catholic church also is adjusting to a more multi-cultural reality, to being served by priests from other countries, to welcoming Catholic parishioners who are recent immigrants from many places we experience as new. When we gather for Eucharist on Sunday, we gather with people we don’t know, the “others” in the congregation. Even people we know well cannot be completely understood but remain separate and mysterious. Jesus’ openness to the “otherness” of the lepers invites us to continue opening ourselves to the “others” in our lives, approaching them with receptive hearts and listening ears.
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia