Year C: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: 2 Kings 5: 14-17
The link between the Gospel and First Reading is fairly obvious today. In the Gospel we have the gratitude of a Samaritan healed of leprosy - and in this Reading, the gratitude of Naaman when he is healed by Elisha.
Naaman had approached Elisha for healing and was, in fact, dismayed when he was instructed to bathe in the Jordan. His dismay was not because it was too hard - but that he couldnít believe that that was all he needed to do.
When he finally accepted Elishaís instructions - rather grudgingly - he found that the power of God did not require epic rites and complicated prayers and endless sacrifices. God could work through the prayers of His prophet and the willingness of Naaman to do something so simple it didnít make sense!
Naaman recognises the power of God at work and decides that this is the God he will serve.
He tries to reward Elisha - but Elisha will accept nothing.
Naaman then makes a seemingly strange request. He asks that he be allowed to take some of the earth from that place back to Damascus with him. It is almost as if he realises that he has been on holy ground and wants to keep something of that encounter with God with him. Perhaps, he feels that God can only be God in that place - on that earth.
It was commonly believed at the time that gods lived in certain places and would only show favour to those who lived there. But, as God revealed to Abraham - to Moses - to the people in Exile - and to the community of Luke in the Gospel, God is not tied to any place or people. His power and love are for all lands and for all peoples. Godís love is universal.
What does it mean for me?
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