Disease and Healing
Opening Question: When was the last time you were sick? What happened? Who helped you to get better?
First Reading: 2 Kings 5:1-5, 10, 14-15, 17b
Rachael remembered her mother’s voice in song and the warmth of her home. When she thought of love, she recalled the days with her family. At those times, the words of her mother would come to mind. “Always remember,” her mother told her, “the God of Israel is the only God we need. He has great power, greater power than any other god.”
A raid of the Syrian army changed Rachael’s life. Rachael’s village lie on the border between Israel and Syria. The foreign army swept down from the mountains, began to burn the village, and grabbed any thing of value they saw. Rachael ran away from her house right into the arms of a Syrian soldier. Screaming, she was torn from her home and her family. She was taken into a strange land with strange ways.
At first, Rachael prayed to be rescued, or she prayed for the death of the Syrians. Soon, however, she realized that she would remain in the foreign land. She also realized her master was not the devil she thought he would be. In fact, Namaan, the general, was as kind as her father. For, he treated her as a family member.
But Namaan had a skin disease that caused him pain. Everyone feared he would infect them. So they stay at a distance from him. But, Rachael wanted to help. So, remembering the words of her mother, she approached Namaan’s wife with a message.
Read 2 Kings 5:1-5, 10, 14-15, 17b
Rachael’s words challenged her master to reach out. When he did, he was healed. When he did, his life changed. Now he did not worship the gods of his country. He worshiped Rachael’s God, our God. He started to worship God with two simple words, “Thank you.”
Bridging Questions: Have you ever felt alone when you were sick? Did you want to hang out with your friends, even though you had to stay in bed? What happened?
Gospel: Luke 17:11-19
When Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he walked on the border between the Galilee and Samaria. As he was about to enter a village, ten men who had leprosy met Jesus. (Leprosy was contagious skin condition. People with leprosy had to live away from anyone else so they wouldn’t infect them.) So, the ten stood far away and shouted, “Jesus! Great Teacher! Have mercy on us!”
When Jesus saw them, he replied, “Go! Show yourselves to the priests!”
As they left, they were cured. But one of them, seeing he was cured, returned. “Praise God!” the man shouted. Then the man fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan.
“Weren’t ten people cured?” Jesus said. “Where are the other nine? Didn’t any of them return to praise God except this foreigner?” Then, Jesus said to the man, “Stand up. Your faith has saved you.”
Ginny came home from school with a cough and a runny nose. Her mother noticed the cough. “Come here, young lady,” her mother said, as she placed the thermometer in Ginny’s mouth.
“Make it quick, Mom,” Ginny replied. “I want to play with Maggie next door. She got a new scooter that she really wants to show me.”
Ginny hummed merrily with the thermometer in her mouth. She nervously awaited her mother’s permission to go play. But, after a minute, her mother looked at the thermometer and frowned. “You have a temperature, Ginny” her mother said. “You’ve got to go to bed and rest.”
“But, Mom . . . ” Ginny stopped when she saw the serious look on her mother’s face. So, she went up to her room, changed her clothes, and got into bed. Within five minutes, Ginny was asleep.
A few hours later, Ginny awoke to her mother’s voice, “Let’s take your temperature again.” This time, Ginny didn’t fight her mother. Her head burned with fever. Ginny took the medicine her mother gave her. She ate a little soup and watched a half hour of television. Then, she rolled over in her bed to sleep. But before she drifted away, she wished she could have seen the scooter and played with her friend.
The next morning, Ginny woke up with a throbbing head. Her sinuses had filled and she wanted desperately to breathe. So, she got out of bed and looked out her window, just to distract herself. That’s when she saw Maggie ride away on her scooter for school. How Ginny hated to be sick! How she wanted to ride with Maggie! How she so wanted to be with her friends as school!
Then her mother entered the room with medicine and her breakfast. “I have to go to work now,” her mother said, as she kissed Ginny goodbye. Now, Ginny was alone, feeling miserable.
After a short nap, Ginny watched television, played video games, and did anything she could think of to keep her mind off her loneliness. But, the time seemed to pass so slowly. Ginny would do anything, ANYTHING, to have some company. She stared at the walls in frustration. They seemed to just stare back.
At three o’clock, Ginny saw Maggie return home. Right then, Ginny called her friend, but Maggie had to get off the phone. She had a doctor’s appointment that afternoon. So, she couldn’t talk.
Too stuffed up to lie down and sleep, too weak to do anything else, Ginny sat in front of the television, bored. She just changed channels over and over, hoping to see something good. Then, she threw the remote control onto the couch in frustration. “Ugh!” she grunted.
Just then, her mother came home. “Sorry I’m late,” her mother apologized. “Let’s take your temperature again.” This time, her mother smiled. “Your temperature has gone down. Maybe you can go to school tomorrow.” Those were the words Ginny waited to hear.
The next morning, Ginny got out of bed and was dressed even before her alarm went off. She was still stuffy and had a little cough. But she felt much better.
Ginny ate breakfast and left for school ten minutes early. “Have a great day!” her mother said waving goodbye. That’s what Ginny intended to do. With her friends.
Like, Ginny, the ten sick men were alone. They could not be with ordinary people, since they might make them sick. But they took a chance. Maybe Jesus could heal them! And Jesus did! He said the words they wanted to hear. Even one of them came back to thank Jesus and to follow him.
Being sick at home reminds us it what means to be alone. It reminds us that we need others. We need Jesus.
Closing Question: How can Jesus help you when you are sick and alone? How can you help others, especially the sick, when they are alone?