Naaman the leper went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.
Returning to Elisha with his whole escort, he went in and stood before him. ‘Now I know’ he said ‘that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel. Now, please, accept a present from your servant.’ But Elisha replied, ‘As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing.’ Naaman pressed him to accept, but he refused.
Then Naaman said, ‘Since your answer is “No,” allow your servant to be given as much earth as two mules may carry, because your servant will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any god except the Lord.’
2 Kings 5:14-17
The first reading at Mass today, the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, introduces us to the themes of healing, humility and gratitude that feature in the Gospel reading of the day – and that are close to the heart of Christian discipleship.
Naaman has hesitated to wash in the Jordan, unwilling to accept the invitation of the prophet, thinking God should heal him in a manner that is more dramatic – or more convenient! But eventually he submits.
And submitting he accepts the Lord as God, and seeks to join himself with Israel not by conquering the land or enslaving its people, but by taking to himself enough earth on which to build a sanctuary for sacrifice, back in his own country.
God invites us to find him in the ordinary, to receive his healing love in the regular circumstance of our lives. And to carry that love with us, ready to share with others as we may.
- In what way have you most recently received the healing of God?
- And with whom have you most recently shared it?
River Jordan. (c) 2007, Allen Morris