What a fascinating story we see in our first reading from 2 Kings 5. Naaman the Syrian, a respected military man, was a leper. He asks the king of Israel to heal him, but he can’t. So the prophet Elisha volunteers to heal him. Naaman doesn’t like what Elisha tells him, but does it anyway, and is healed. This story is always a reminder to me that, even though we may not agree with a prompting of the Holy Spirit, we must obey nonetheless. We hear about the story of Naaman the Syrian in today’s Gospel from Luke 4.
Jesus is in the synagogue at Nazareth, his own hometown. He tells the people, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.” He then goes on to recount how Elisha, a powerful prophet, could not cure any lepers in Israel except Naaman, a foreigner. Elisha performed more miracles than any of the other prophets. Yet now lepers would be cured. Why is that? Perhaps it is because people knew Elisha. He was Elijah’s understudy. How could he be a mighty man of God? After all, they knew him since he was a kid.
So it can be with us. We, too, are called to be prophets. To share with others the Word of God. You’ll probably find that, in your prophetic ministry, you, too, will have a hard time being accepted “in your own hometown.” Often the people that know us best have the hardest time believing that we have changed; that we have become “new creations in Christ Jesus.” They know better, right? They’ve seen you at your worst. Friend, don’t let that stop you! Stay the course! Live your life in Christ and that will speak volumes to them. It may take years, but eventually they will get the message. And even if they don’t, you are called to keep living and delivering the message.
Father, thank you for calling us to be prophets. Give us the grace to persevere in our prophetic mission, whether we are accepted in our own hometown or not. Amen.