Monday, March 4, 2013

3/4/13 – Monday of 3rd week of Lent- Luke 4:24-30 –

         It is good to be reminded in today’s readings that Jesus grew up as a devout Jew with a great love of the Jewish traditions and holy scripture.  In today’s Gospel, Jesus makes reference to the cure of Naaman’s leprosy by the prophet Elisha, a story we hear in today’s first reading from the second book of Kings. Like the healing miracle performed by the prophet Elisha, Jesus also used healings and miracles in his proclamation of God’s kingdom. In fact, Jesus brings the prophetic tradition described in the Jewish Scriptures in the Old Testament to its perfection and fulfillment. 

         What a contrast we have between the fit of anger demonstrated by the king of Israel when Naaman comes to him asking for a healing from leprosy, with the caring faith of the Israelite slave girl who sent Naaman to be cured in the first place.  The faith of this slave girl reminds us that the Israelites were slaves in Egypt when they were chosen by God to be his chosen people.  God has a special love and compassion for the needy and the poor of the world.  Sometimes people of status and means can become so entrenched in their privileged position in the eyes of the secular world that their hopes and dreams in God can become limited.  

         Jesus came into the world as a servant to others, challenging us to be servants to one another.  He tells the people of his hometown that they put limits on God’s power by their lack of faith.  Many times in the stories we hear in the holy scriptures, the foreigners, the enemies, the widows and the orphans were the ones healed by God because of their great faith in his power.  In contrast, in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus’ own people throw him out of the synagogue in a fit of rage – some want to throw him off a cliff. 

         As we walk with Jesus during this Lenten season, as we journey with him through the desert on the way to the cross, as we try to give up all that weighs us down and burdens us symbolized by the rocks we carry with us during Lent, may we see God as totally inclusive, as the God who rejoices at the salvation of all humanity. 

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