On Naaman and the Choices We Make

The daily mass readings for Monday of the 3rd Week of Lent are an embarrassment of riches.  Check them out here.

In the first reading, we receive the healing of Naaman from leprosy by Elisha.  The Gospel recounts the rejection of Jesus at Nazareth.  A prophet is never accepted in his own land, indeed.

It was my turn to preach this morning and, in the interests of time, I focused upon the first reading: there are three polarities, of sorts: that is to say, doublets which highlight divergent realities:

1. Naaman, the great military commander, interacts with a slave girl;

2. The King of Israel tears his garments at a request for healing; Elisha promises God’s intervention;

3. After his healing, Naaman confesses that there is one God – and it is the God of Israel.

What are we to make of all this?

Coming at the point that it does in Lent, this reading forces the believer to take stock of his or her situation and the choices that have been made, as well as the choices to come.  Very often, we are called to choose between vice and virtue; but, as a friar, or priest, or lay ecclesial minister, or Christian, we are often called to choose between two goods: just as the editor of 2 Kings highlights the polarities of our lives through the story of Naaman, so ought we pray today that we will hear God’s voice as we attempt to navigate the either/or’s that confront us in prayer and ministry.


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