2Kgs 5:14-17; 2TM 2:8-13; Lk 17:11-19
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s first reading speaks of healing in the Middle East. Naaman the Syrian, a general in the Aramean army, suffers from leprosy. When the Hebrew prophet Elisha heals him, Naaman is so grateful that his “flesh became again like the flesh of a child” he wants to repay Elisha for his kindness. But Elisha is not in the prophet business for money or glory or any worldly gain (would that all of us invovled in ministry in the Church could say the same) and so he refuses any compensation. Instead, Naaman makes a vow to honor the God of Israel from that point forward.
A story of healing in the Middle East. Of two peoples (In this case, Israel and the Arameans) hardened by years of conflict finding a way to reach out to one another. What stranger combination for a story about healing and reconciliation might we imagine than one that features a general and a prophet as its’ heroes? God’s desire to see us reconciled with one another is so deep and desperate that God will use whatever means are available and whoever is willing to bring reconciliation about.
A short time ago, the world waited with tense anticipation to see if a missle strike would be launched by U.S. forces against the Syrian dictator who chose to use chemical weapons against his own people. Today, there is real hope that a brokered solution within which the world’s national powers were able to work togehter might be able to bring the crisis to a peaceful resolution.
Perhaps we could pray this week that the next stories of reconciliation in the Middle East might not be Biblical accounts but accounts taken from the happenings in our world today.
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)
To locate book-length versions of my writings, click here: http://store.pastoralplanning.com/maroforsciin.html