Central Idea: Giving glory to God. Doctrine: “The world was created for the glory of God.” Practical Application: How do we give glory to God?
For Lectionary 144, click here.
Central Idea: Giving glory to God
Reading 1 2 Kgs 5:14-17
Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of Elisha, the man of God.
His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child,
and he was clean of his leprosy.
Naaman returned with his whole retinue to the man of God.
On his arrival he stood before Elisha and said,
“Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
except in Israel.
Please accept a gift from your servant.”
Elisha replied, “As the LORD lives whom I serve, I will not take it;”
and despite Naaman’s urging, he still refused.
Naaman said: “If you will not accept,
please let me, your servant, have two mule-loads of earth,
for I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice
to any other god except to the LORD.”
- With God’s power, the prophet Elisha was able to heal the foreigner, Naaman, from the scourge of leprosy.
- When Naaman returned to thank God and the prophet, Elisha would accept no monetary reward.
- From his encounter, Naaman received two gifts—the healing of his body and faith in the one true God: “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”
Responsorial Psalm Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
his right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands:
break into song; sing praise.
- In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel longed for the rest of the world to see how God had saved her.
- Gradually, Israel wished this salvation to be extended to the rest of the nations of the world.
- Both desires have been realized through Jesus Christ.
- For each Christian, the revelation of God’s salvation “to the nations,” that is, to every human being, is a primary task.
- First, the Christian must know what God has done. Then, he can tell others.
Reading 2 2 Tm 2:8-13
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
such is my gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.
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.
This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.
- The pagan Naaman received two gifts from the prophet Elisha: salvation from leprosy and faith in the One, True God.
- Paul reiterates that the saved, that is, those who accept and remain faithful to the Gospel, also receive two gifts: salvation and glory.
- We receive the forgiveness of our sins and healing from them.
- The salvation of forgiveness happens immediately when we are baptized or when we properly confess our post-baptismal sins. The healing from sin begins in this life but the complete cure occurs only in the next, for here we never fully lose the effects of original sin.
- We also receive in heaven a divinization or share in the very life of God. This sanctification begins in this life as we become temples of the Holy Spirit when we are in the state of grace.
- We receive the forgiveness of our sins and healing from them.
Gospel Lk 17:11-19
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”
- Our Lord did for ten lepers what the great prophet Elisha did for one.
- But only one of them, also a foreigner like Naaman, returned to thank God.
- When Jesus said to the Samaritan leper who returned to thank Our Lord, “your faith has saved you,” the man must have understood what Naaman learned upon his own healing: “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.” The Samaritan former leper knew that God’s power had to be at work in Christ.
Doctrine: “The world was created for the glory of God”
- What is the meaning of the basic Christian doctrine that “The world was created for the glory of God”? According to St. Bonaventure, God created “not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it.” In other words, “God has no other reason for creating than his love and goodness.” (CCC 293)
- God desires to share his goodness, truth, beauty, love, and happiness with beings that would not exist if he did not create them.
- The material universe itself in its age, size, laws, simplicity and complexity, order, information, power, and beauty manifest God’s greatness and goodness.
- Lower creatures, lacking consciousness and reason, show but don’t know God’s glory.
- As conscious and rational beings, we both show and can know God’s glory.
- But there is more. God made human beings “to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us” through his Son (Eph 1:5-6).
- Through Christ, we are no longer just creatures of God. We have been adopted by God to be his sons.
- Irenaeus made the startling claim that “the glory of God is man fully alive; moreover man’s life is the vision of God: if God’s revelation through creation has already obtained life for all the beings that dwell on earth, how much more will the Word’s manifestation of the Father obtain life for those who see God” (CCC 294). What does Irenaeus mean?
- God is most glorified by a human being whose potentialities are most fully realized.
- A human being’s potentialities are most fully realized by seeing God directly.
- We already see God indirectly by discovering him in his creation.
- Through God’s direct revelation in the Word, Jesus Christ, we will see God directly.
- That vision–the Beatific Vision–will give us a divinized glorified body and soul in which our potentialities are fully realized and which simultaneously will give the greatest glory to God.
Practical Application: How do we give glory to God?
- If God creates in order to bestow benefits on his creatures, then we human beings give glory to God by becoming fully human, by realizing our human potentialities.
- How do we become fully human? We do this, in this life, by developing the talents God has given us, modeling our behavior on the perfect man, Jesus Christ.
- We do this with the natural powers we possess as human beings and the supernatural grace that God gives us through the Sacraments.
- This is the work of a lifetime.
- Again, if God creates to bestow benefits on his creatures, we give glory to God in carrying out God’s original mandate, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28).
- We have children: we who are alive cooperate with God to bring new human life into being.
- We appreciate the creation just as we receive it.
- We also work to develop and perfect it.
- We sanctify our work by offering it to God, serving others through it, and doing it as well as we can.
- This is the work of each day.
- We can also give glory to God by turning to him, like the lepers who returned, with explicit works of praise, especially in the work of praise he has given us, the divine liturgy, especially the Holy Mass.
- Just by assisting at Mass, we give glory to God.
- This is the work of an hour on Sunday that spills over into the rest of our week.
- It is a work of every day if we wish.
- May the Mass everywhere be celebrated with the greatest reverence and beauty in chapels and churches that are images of the Garden of Eden and of Heaven.
For additional themes for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Homiletic Directory recommends these:
- CCC 1503-1505, 2616: Christ the healer
- CCC 543-550, 1151: signs of the Kingdom of God
- CCC 224, 2637-2638: thanksgiving
- CCC 1010: the Christian meaning of death