Readings for this blog
The readings for Monday of the third week of Lent give the impression that God has something against the many. Jesus puts it at the level of an impossibility that a prophet would be accepted by his own people in his native land. Grace comes in the specific and limited scope of real human feeling. Details are great pious jewels.
The king of Israel falsifies his own outrage. See! The king of Aram is only looking for a quarrel with me. Perhaps the king of Aram would say the same thing. If this main believes that he can find comfort in Israel, who would the king of Aram be to stand in the way. Naaman, pagan though he was, seems to be a dignified person who desires that his one weakness be healed. It is rare for a person of greatness to come to terms with such weakness. He nearly turns aside because he cannot find his cure in the rivers of his own land. To accept God's will, a very particular man must accept the uniqueness of God in a particular people.
Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel. Throw the picture into reverse. Now I know that there is no God among men but this man Jesus! As God's people, we are each unique and beloved of the Father in Christ. Thanks be to God! How then do we feel to know that we belong to the "many lepers of Israel"? Why can we not all be healed? Why then can we not all be healed of unbelief, as Jesus own kindred?
Perhaps we can all be healed, but not until we are willing to sacrifice all the riches of our treasury, offering them in tribute with Naaman to the King of Israel. In good faith, God receives our gifts. Our instructions are to carry out small trusting acts of prayer and worship. In exchange, we receive a savior, wounded and healed. God leaves the traces of his presence in the little details of our lives so that somehow we will know that these details lead us to greater glory in Christ Jesus.
So, kiss a crucifix gently, read a bit of scripture slowly, kneel and reflect momentarily. Trust that you are healed of unbelief in every act of faith.