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March 13

FOCUS:  God uses ordinary means to make visible the grace of the sacraments.


00:00 / 02:28

2 Kgs 5:1-15ab

PS 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4

Lk 4:24-30

Naaman is a highly respected army commander, powerful, much admired, bringing victory to the King of Aram. However, he has contracted leprosy, a humiliating disease which would have been mortifying for such an important and courageous man.

A lowly enslaved Israelite servant girl, says that Naaman should go to Samaria and present himself to Elisha, the prophet, to be healed. It must have taken a large dose of humility for Naaman to even listen to this child, let alone do as she suggests.

However, Naaman listens, and acts. First, he presents himself to the King of Israel, who becomes angry and distraught. Naaman doesn’t storm off in frustration and anger at this reception but remains open to an intervention by Elisha.

Upon reaching the home of Elisha, however, Naaman merely receives a message from a messenger, not a face-to-face meeting with Elisha. He wanted a personal invocation and laying on of hands, after all, he is a person of great importance! On top of that, he is given an option for healing that seems too trivial to be effective. Now his pride is in full view. He feels slighted and does not have faith in the words of Elisha, refusing to do as he was told. However, Naaman is persuaded by his servants, humbles himself again, bathes in the waters of the river Jordan and is cured of leprosy.

What happens next? He asks for some soil so that he can honor the God of Israel on hallowed ground. It was not in strength and victory that Naaman found God, but in weakness and defeat.

What are our weaknesses? We all have them. Do we see them as opportunities to encounter God? Or does our pride get in the way, do we refuse to recognize them, or make excuses? Can we set those aside, as Naaman did, and come to the Lord in humility, trust, and faith, to be healed from our own forms of leprosy, not forgetting to honor God for the ways in which he heals, and blesses us?

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