Our first reading today is from 2 Kings 5. It is a story about a man named Naaman. Naaman was not a child of Israel. He was a commander in the army of Aram. He was a Syrian. In the Gospel reading today from Luke 4, Jesus recalls to the people that Naaman, a foreigner, was the only man of his time to have faith to be healed of his affliction.
Naaman was an important man. He was also a leper. One of his wife’s servants was a young Israelite girl. She told them of a prophet in Samaria who could cure Naaman’s leprosy. Naaman goes to Samaria and is told by Elisha that to be cured he must “wash seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.” Naaman was furious, and wondered why he couldn’t just wash in the waters of his homeland. Were not they better than all the waters of Israel? After some cajoling and convincing, Naaman does what Elisha prescribed, and he was cleansed.
In order to receive his healing, Naaman had to put away his pride and be willing to do something he considered ridiculous. He couldn’t imagine that this river in Israel was superior to the rivers in his native land. He knew better! This prophet had to be nuts! Once he set aside his own prejudice, he opened his mind to another way. Isn’t this too often how it is between us and God? We know what we’re doing! All this God stuff is no more than silly rules and regulations! Bah! That kind of thinking will surely get us nowhere. When we open our minds to the possibility that we could be wrong and God may have an inkling of what He’s doing, then the floodgates of healing will open wide.
Father, help us to set aside our pride, to stop thinking that we know it all. Open our minds and our hearts to your ways. Amen.
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