(28th Ordinary Sunday: 2 Kings 5:14-17; 2 Timothy 2:8-18; Luke 17:11-19)
Naaman had no personal reason to expect the prophet to help him. He was a leper. Furthermore, he was a foreigner. It was a Hebrew slave-girl that suggested he go to Samaria to be cured by the prophet there. And he had no other options.
On his arrival, he was disappointed when Elisha didn’t meet him but just sent a message to tell him to bathe seven times in the Jordan; and at first he refused. But ultimately he submitted, and his transformation was complete, physically and spiritually.
The unnamed leper of the Gospel story likewise had no personal reason to expect that the itinerant prophet named Jesus would help him. He was, after all, a Samaritan. Even if he had gone to show himself to the priests, they would have had nothing to do with “this foreigner.” But he, too, was transformed, in body and spirit.
It almost seems that the other nine lepers cured by Jesus assumed that “of course” he cured them, since he and they shared the same religion and nationality.
At La Salette, neither Mélanie nor Maximin, nor any other person of the locality had any reason to expect a visit from the Mother of God. It was not until the evening of that day that anyone understood who had appeared to the children and spoken to them. The elderly “Mother Caron” exclaimed: “It is the Blessed Virgin these children have seen, for in heaven there is none but she whose Son reigns!”
Since then, hundreds of physical healings and countless spiritual transformations have taken place through the encounter with the Beautiful Lady.
Both Naaman and the Samaritan returned after being cleansed, to glorify God and give thanks. Each had received the gift of faith. The same may be said of many pilgrims to La Salette.
The more we recognize how undeserving we are of God’s blessings, the deeper our gratitude will be. Ideally, it will express itself both as an abiding feeling, and as a determination to show the Lord that we are truly thankful.
In this way, transformations will continue to occur our whole life long.