Sunday, March 23, 2014
Monday Third Week of Lent
March 24, 2014
Monday Third Week of Lent
2 Kgs 5:1-15b / Ps 42: 2, 3; 43:3, 4 / Lk 4: 24-30
Reading: 2 Kgs 5:1-15b
Naaman was the army commander of the king of Aram. This man was highly regarded and enjoyed the king's favor, for Yahweh had helped him lead the army of the Arameans to victory. But this valiant man was sick with leprosy. One day some Aramean soldiers raided the land of Israel and took a young girl captive who became a servant to the wife of Naaman. She said to her mistress, "If my master would only present himself to the prophet in Samaria, he would surely cure him of his leprosy." Naaman went to tell the king what the young Israelite maidservant had said. The king of Aram said to him, "Go to the prophet, and I shall also send a letter to the king of Israel." So Naaman went and took with him ten gold bars, six thousand pieces of silver and ten festal garments. On his arrival, he delivered the letter to the king of Israel. It said, "I present my servant Naaman to you that you may heal him of his leprosy." When the king had read the letter, he tore his clothes to show his indignation, "I am not God to give life or death. And the king of Aram sends me this man to be healed! You see he is just looking for an excuse for war." Elisha, the man of God, came to know that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, so he sent this message to him: "Why have you torn your clothes? Let the man come to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel." So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and stopped before the house of Elisha. Elisha then sent a messenger to tell him, "Go to the river Jordan and wash seven times, and your flesh shall be as it was before, and you shall be cleansed." Naaman was angry, so he went away. He thought: "On my arrival, he should have personally come out, and then paused and called on the name of Yahweh, his God. And he should have touched with his hand the infected part, and I would have been healed. Are the rivers of Damascus, Abana and Pharpar not better than all the rivers of the land of Israel? Could I not wash there to be healed?" His servants approached him and said to him, "Father, if the prophet had ordered you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? But how much easier when he said: Take a bath and you will be cleansed." So Naaman went down to the Jordan where he washed himself seven times as Elisha had ordered. His skin became soft like that of a child and he was cleansed. Then Naaman returned to the man of God with all his men. He entered and said to him, "Now I know that there is no other God anywhere in the world but in Israel."
Gospel: Lk 4:24-30
Jesus added, "No prophet is honored in his own country. Truly, I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens withheld rain for three years and six months and a great famine came over the whole land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow of Zarephath, in the country of Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha, the prophet, and no one was healed except Naaman, the Syrian." On hearing these words, the whole assembly became indignant. They rose up and brought him out of the town, to the edge of the hill on which Nazareth is built, intending to throw him down the cliff. But he passed through their midst and went his way.
In today's Gospel, Jesus is rejected by the people of his home town of Nazareth because he is too familiar to them, coming from a simple family. Crab mentality! He cannot be better than they? Who is he to teach them? They do not accept the new image of God Jesus presented to them in his interpretation of Isaiah where he conveyed that God's people are not only the Jews but also the non-Jews. Not only did they ridicule him, but they rose up against him in anger, and wanted to throw him over the hill of the town. But Jesus patiently moved through their midst, and went away.
Why did Jesus' town mates become angry and violent? They are envious because he came from a lowly family and yet here he is teaching them. They are jealous because he did not perform miracles in his hometown while in Capernaum he did. They are angry because they could not accept his new teaching that God's people includes the excluded, going beyond the limits of race.
But what was Jesus' response to all this? He remained calm. He could not change the mentality of the people, so he let them be for the time being.
Let us not be like the town mates of Jesus. We should not be too exclusive but be accepting of others even those who are outsiders of our group or our communities.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
... for families who are in need of healing.
... for world peace and reconciliation.
... for special intentions
* Fr. Maximo Barbero, SJ
* Alain Go
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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