Thorn In His Side – Fr. Viet Nguyen

Fr. Viet Nguyen’s Homily October 13, 2019

“You know in today’s reading and Gospel I think the main thing we can learn is that the one thing we want to get rid of is the one thing usually that will bring us closest to God.  The one thing we want to get rid of often is that one thing that will bring us closer to God. In the first reading Naaman has leprosy and he travels to get rid of this. He dips seven times in the Jordan.  In the Gospel, these ten lepers come to Jesus asking to be healed, to have mercy on them, but what is leprosy? You know in some ways in the scripture we don’t really know what leprosy is, but we know it’s a physical ailment that’s there.  Everybody knows that you have it. It’s debilitating, but you know in all of our lives in some ways each one of us has a form of leprosy, but what is it? What is it in your life? The one thing that you say to yourself, ‘If anyone knew…then’?  St. Paul talks about the same thing. He says, ‘The thorn in his side.’ St. Paul says the same thing. We never know what the thorn in his side is. He asked God to remove it three times, but that thorn in his side brought him closer to Christ and so too in the readings today, the leprosy, but the key is knowing what it is.  So what is it in your life? What is that thorn in your side? What is that leprosy? Then, once you know what it is, in the scriptures, the Gospel is coming to
Christ.  We do very well of that.  We come to church. They say, ‘Have pity on us.’  And in some ways we say the same thing. In the very beginning of Mass, every Mass we say, ‘Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy’ but do we mean it or are we just saying it, going through the motions?  Because part of these stories is humbling yourself to receive the grace of God. You see there were ten who asked for mercy, but only one recognized it. Only one was poor in spirit to recognize that when he was cleansed it was truly God.  It’s kind of like we have to have that poor in spirit, kind of like the Little Sisters of the Poor, they’re poor physically so they know that everything that comes to them is from God. What do we rely on in our lives? Have we set it aside when we do ask for help so that we’re ready to receive the Grace of God when it comes?

As you come to receive the Lord today where Christ is truly present before you, let us continue to ask the Lord for the strength and the courage to acknowledge that thorn in the side to acknowledge that leprosy that we have to come to Him to have mercy on us, but for us to truly be open to receiving the grace of God in our life.  Amen.”