October 9, 2022
Naaman is facing a terrible problem that he can’t overcome. He learns how much his life can change by simple acts of obedience to God. NOTE: This homily is bilingual, given first in Spanish and then English.
- Naaman has been a successful general, but now he has leprosy.
- His pride and his own criteria refuse to do something simple.
- When he makes an act of obedience to God through His prophet, he is healed.
- Odedience to God, which requires humility and faith, is powerful.
- The Sacraments give us a chance to receive these graces.
This is a computer-generated transcription that has been included to make the homily searchable. It has not been verified by the author.
I’ll give the homily first in Spanish. So those who don’t understand Spanish you might want to read the readings or even just use this as a quiet time to rest with the Lord.
(Homily given in Spanish.)
So now I’ll wake up those who don’t understand Spanish. This gospel is the gospel which gives a great lesson on gratitude. But there’s another lesson that may be less noticed that I wanted to focus on, and in the first reading also gives us an even clearer example. But we need maybe a little background to the first reading. So Naaman, it says this is from the same, the same book. It says, Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by Him, the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor. So, he was a great military leader, great general, had been very successful. He was used to evaluating, deciding, commanding, getting things done and winning, like Trump, he likes to win, right? He likes to win and he was very successful at winning. But now, he has leprosy. Now he’s facing an enemy that he cannot defeat. And it’s hard for us to imagine the horror of leprosy at that point. Have you ever faced problems in your life, that you can’t overcome? Problems that you can’t overcome. And so, one of his servants tells him about Elijah, a prophet of God and Israel. And so scripture says, “Elijah sends a message to him saying, let him come now to me that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel. So Naaman came with his horses, and chariots and halted at the door, of Elijah’s house. And Elijah sent a messenger to him saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” So, he gives him a very simple, clear indication of what to do. So that’s a great grace, He, first of all, he doesn’t say, “I’m not going to answer you”. And he doesn’t give him something so mysterious, he gives him very simple and clear directions. So how does Naaman respond? Naaman was furious, and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leprosy. Are not Abana, and far, far the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel, couldn’t I wash in them and be cleaned. So, he went away in a rage. So Naaman knows perfectly how God, the man of God should respond to him. He has all the exact, this is a guy used to telling people what to do. And so, he has very clear ideas about what should be done in this case, and the person, but these ideas are about what God should do. So’ he’s telling what God and God’s prophets should do, he would surely come out because I’m a very important person. So surely, he should come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, that the sick and a cure the leprosy. So, he knows exactly what God is supposed to do. He has his ideas, his criteria, that his pride, and his arrogance, have decided should be done. And that’s often a problem that God encounters when He wants to do something with us. That so often we have our ideas about how God and someone sent by God should act. And if they don’t act according to our ideas, then we refuse them. So, things are a little bit mixed up here. So, it’s normal for Naaman, to command those who are under his direction. But God is not under his direction. And the man of God is not under his direction. This is a case where Naaman should shut up and listen and do something which he’s not used to doing, to obey. He’s used to giving orders. He’s not so good at obeying, especially being an Israelite. So, the danger when we pose our criteria on God. So he’s about to lose this opportunity, the one opportunity has to be clean, he’s about to lose it, he’s going away. But some of his servants came near, scripture says and said to him, “my father, if the prophet had commanded to you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather when he says to wash and be clean.” He’s not asking you to do anything difficult. But what’s difficult for Naaman, it’s difficult to be humble, and to trust and to obey, even when it’s not something hard. So finally, they convinced him, so he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the Man of God. And His flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was cleaned. And that power didn’t come from the river. It didn’t come from the act of washing, it came from the power of obeying God, the power of obeying God. And this is a power that is available to each one of us. The power of cooperating with God Himself. So that we’re not limited by our own little abilities, we can be cooperating with God Himself, united, to His will, to His all-powerful will. So, it’s like we can, instead of just standing on the bank, we can enter in this great mighty, this current of this mighty, mighty river, which is the river of God’s loving designs for the world. All of us have been infected, contaminated by satan, since original sin, with that spirit that has caused so much damage and so much pain, and so much sadness and distruction in our world, which is the spirit of rebellion. And so, this act of obedience requires humility, and it requires faith, trust. Those are the three virtues that we’ve discovered the Lord is asking of our Mission, above all, humility, faith, and obedience to God. So that God can act, these permit God to act in our lives. And so, how is God calling you to obey? One concrete example we have is in the sacraments. In the sacraments, God is wanting to do things way beyond what our human, any human power could do. If we obey Him, like in Baptism. By receiving Baptism, where there’s the water, but with the invocation of the Blessed Trinity in obedience to God, our souls are washed clean, and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in them. And then confession, well think of what Jesus says to the lepers in the Gospel, go and show yourself to the priest. And the leprosy has always been seen as like a symbol here of the effects of sin, how sin, the leprosy of sin for our soul. And so, this is what we do for our souls in the Sacrament of Confession. We go and show, not our bodies, but our souls to the priest so that our souls can be cleaned. And that’s what Jesus said to Saint Faustina, that when we come to the sacrament, the blood and water which flowed forth from His heart, comes down upon our souls and washes away our sin. And in this Eucharist, that we’re celebrating right now, where Jesus said, at the last supper, “do this in memory of me.” We have an opportunity right now, to put into practice, an act of obeying God. And so, we can ask our Blessed Mother, she was the great example of obedience to God and what happens when someone obeys God because she, with humility, and with faith, opened herself, obeyed God. “Behold, the handmaiden of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word, God was able to give Himself to her entirely. And through her, give Himself to the world. And so, we have the opportunity today also to make an act of obedience, with humility and with trust in our Lord and can receive Him in Holy Communion. And we can say to Him, here, the words that Scripture says Jesus Himself said, when He came into this world, “here I am, Lord, I come to do Your will. Not my will, but Your will.” Here I am, Lord, I come to do Your will. Amen
KEYWORDS / PHRASES:
2 Kings 5:14-17