28th Sunday Ordinary Time - Year C
TWO MULE-LOADS OF EARTH
The idea of a universal God was not commonly held in ancient times. Most people thought that each divinity lived and reigned over a specific city or country. When Naaman–-the Syrian army commander-–is cured of leprosy, he is grateful to the God of Israel. He requests a sizeable amount of soil from that country. In a sense he is exporting Israel's Deity to his own land. He will probably spread this dirt near his own house, thus bringing God home.
SHOW YOURSELVES TO THE PRIESTS
People were terrified by the idea of leprosy in biblical times. They lumped several different things under the name. These ranged from true leprosy and cancer to simple rust or mildew. If a person showed any white spots on his body he had to strip and be examined by a priest. A period of quarantine would be followed by another exam. If the symptoms cleared up, the victim could return home. If the spots remained or grew worse, the person would be banished. The priest carried the responsibility of protecting society from contagion.
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