Gospel Reflection – Monday, March 4, 2024 – Luke 4,24-30 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (2 Kings 5:1-15a)

Reading from the Second Book of Kings.

In those days, Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Syria, 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, but he was a leper.

Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.” But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? 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 stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha 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.”

But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 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 clean.

Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.”

– The word of the Lord.

– Thanks be to God.

Gospel (Luke 4:24-30)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke.

— Glory to you, Lord!

And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. But passing through the midst of them he went away.

— The Gospel of the Lord.

— Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today, I want to begin our reflection with a question: how many times do we find ourselves facing situations where we are challenged to go beyond our own expectations? How willing are we to step out of our comfort zone and confront the unknown? These are common experiences in our daily lives, where we are called to trust in God and believe that He can surprise us in extraordinary ways.

Our biblical passages for today present us with two stories that invite us to reflect on the importance of faith, humility, and detachment in our spiritual journey. In the First Reading, taken from the Second Book of Kings (2 Kings 5:1-15a), we encounter the story of Naaman, a powerful and respected commander who suffered from an incurable disease. Naaman heard about a prophet in Israel who could cure him, so he went to the king of Israel in search of this cure.

Here, we can see that Naaman is confronted with an unexpected situation. He expects to be treated with honor and respect by the king of Israel, but instead, he is sent to the prophet Elisha. Naaman becomes indignant and reluctant to follow Elisha’s instructions, which ask him to dip seven times in the Jordan River to be healed.

This seemingly simple demand is a test for Naaman’s faith. He expected a grand and spectacular solution to his illness, but instead, he receives a humble and seemingly insignificant instruction. However, Naaman decides to trust in God and obey Elisha’s words. He dips in the Jordan River seven times and is completely healed.

This story reminds us that faith in God often calls us to act in ways that we do not fully understand. It can be difficult to trust in God when He calls us to do something that seems illogical or insignificant. But it is in these situations that we are invited to exercise our faith and believe that God is acting, even when we do not fully understand His ways.

Naaman, by dipping seven times in the Jordan River, also teaches us about the importance of humility and detachment. He had to let go of his own expectations and preconceived ideas to embrace God’s will. He had to set aside his pride and humbly trust in Elisha’s instructions. And it is through this humility and detachment that he experiences healing and transformation in his life.

This story invites us to reflect on our own life and our response to God’s call. How often are we like Naaman, resisting to trust in God and His instructions because of our pride, our need for control, or our own expectations? How can we learn to be humble and detached, trusting that God is acting in our lives, even when His ways seem unknown and unexpected?

These questions lead us to the Gospel of Luke (Luke 4:24-30), where we find another powerful example of how faith and humility are essential in our spiritual journey. In this passage, Jesus is in His hometown of Nazareth, and the people who have known Him since His childhood are amazed at the teachings and miracles He performed in other cities.

However, when Jesus begins to speak about the need for faith and conversion, the crowd becomes enraged. They cannot accept the idea that Jesus, a common man they have known since childhood, could be the promised Messiah. They cannot overcome their own expectations and prejudices to recognize the presence of God before them.

Jesus then tells them two stories from the Old Testament, in which God acted on behalf of foreigners instead of their own countrymen. He reminds the crowd of how God sent the prophet Elijah to a foreign widow in Zarephath and the prophet Elisha to heal Naaman, the Syrian. These stories are a powerful reminder that God is not limited to one nation or a specific group of people. He acts and reveals Himself to all, regardless of their origin or social status.

These stories challenge the crowd to overcome their own limitations and open their hearts to the truth before them. However, instead of repenting and embracing Jesus’ message, they become filled with wrath and even attempt to throw Him off a cliff. They cannot accept the idea that God is acting in a way that does not fit their own expectations and traditions.

This reaction of the crowd makes us reflect on how we too can be limited in our understanding of God and our ability to accept His will in our lives. We often want God to fit into our own ideas and expectations, instead of opening ourselves to receive His truth and grace. We can get trapped in religious traditions and routines, forgetting that God is always surprising us and calling us to go beyond our own limitations.

Dear brothers and sisters, in the light of these biblical passages, I want to challenge you to reflect on your own life and your response to God’s call. Where are you resisting His will because of your own expectations and limitations? Where are you holding on to preconceived ideas and traditions, instead of opening your hearts to God’s surprising action?

God is constantly inviting us to trust in Him, to be humble and detached, to let go of our own expectations, and to open ourselves to His grace and His will. He calls us to go beyond our own limitations and embrace the truth He reveals to us, even when it goes against our traditions and pre-established concepts.

Like Naaman, we are called to trust in God and obey His instructions, even when they seem insignificant or difficult to understand. We are called to abandon our pride and our need for control, and to humbly submit to God’s will. It is in this surrender and trust that we will find healing and transformation in our lives.

Like the crowd in Nazareth, we are challenged to overcome our own limitations and prejudices to recognize God’s presence in our daily lives. He is acting in unexpected and surprising ways, and we must be willing to open our hearts and minds to receive His truth and grace.

Dear brothers and sisters, may this reflection inspire us to renew our faith in God and to trust in His promises, even when everything around us seems uncertain. May we be humble and detached, willing to let go of our own expectations and traditions to embrace God’s will. And may we be open and receptive to God’s action in our lives, ready to be transformed by His grace and His love.

May the grace of God be with you all. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.