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  Word To Life














Sunday Scripture Readings, Oct. 13, 2013

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service


October 13, Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle C. Readings:

1) 2 Kings 5:14-17

Psalm 98:1-4

2) 2 Timothy 2:8-13

Gospel: Luke 17:11-19

When my mother was first diagnosed with lung cancer, our family was devastated. After many weeks of chemotherapy and radiation, she was tested to see if the cancer was still there. The week before her appointment, she pinned a relic of St. Therese of Lisieux to her clothing and prayed for her intercession daily.

In keeping with the "shower of roses" that often accompanies the intercession of St. Therese, my mother encountered roses every day -- sent to her in a bouquet, on a card, smelling their scent in her room. The tests showed her cancer was gone. We were amazed and overjoyed. Like Naaman and the leper in this week's readings, we thanked God for the blessing.

A year later, her cancer returned and all the prayers we offered did not save her. We wondered: Why did the prayers "work" one time and not the other? Did God stop listening? We did not know what to think.

We did our best to remain faithful. Even in the midst of her pain, my mother continued to pray and read the Scriptures. Her faithfulness was rewarded in one final way: She died on Good Friday, going home with Jesus.

The words of St. Paul in the second reading speak to how we were feeling: "If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him."

Stories of healing in the Bible are wonderful to read, but they can be confusing and challenging when one's illness is not healed. This lyric in a song written by Wayne Watson was a huge comfort to me at the time of my mother's death: "Home free, eventually, at the ultimate healing we will be home free." The idea is that when a loved one passes away from illness he or she has experienced the ultimate healing.

God does desire to heal and make us whole, but many times it does not happen the way we think it should. In these times let us stand with St. Paul and remain faithful. When we do, we stay planted in the will of God. Christ's suffering has redeemed all human suffering. Uniting our suffering with Jesus' may not take away the pain, but it can bring meaning to our journey.

QUESTIONS:

Have you or someone you know ever experienced a miraculous healing? Have you or someone you know endured long suffering? If so, how has this impacted your faith?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him." -- 2 Timothy 2:11-12

END



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