March 13, 2023
by Tamora Whitney
Creighton University's English Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 237

2 Kings 5:1-15ab
Psalm 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4
Luke 4:24-30

Praying Lent Home

The Midpoint of Lent

Lent as: Hearing the Cry of the Poor

Helping Little Children with Lent

No prophet is accepted in his own place. Naaman was told there was a man in Israel who could cure him of his leprosy, so he travelled far to the exotic foreign healer for a cure that was not thought possible. But when they get to Israel, the king says that there is no one in Israel who can do something like that. No prophet is accepted in his own country. Then Naaman finds the man. He is told to wash in the river to cure his leprosy. And now Naaman is enraged – this is too simple. He’s washed many times and never been cured. The rivers in Israel are no different from anywhere else. He was expecting a fantastic ritual, not a bath. And even today when people get a common cold and they are told to rest and drink fluids and let it pass, they want antibiotics – which do nothing for a cold and create other problems, because it seems too easy and ordinary to rest and wait. But Naaman’s servants tell him to listen to the healer and do what he asks. They say, if he had told you to do something extraordinary, you would have done it immediately. Since he has told you to do something ordinary, you should do that. Naaman does follow the healer’s orders, and he is healed.

Jesus relates this story in the gospel. He says that no one in Israel was healed, even though the healer was there, because they did not recognize his power. I know someone who grew up in Minnesota, and always said she never understood the big deal about Bob Dylan, who grew up down the street from her. She said why is everyone so impressed with Bobby from down the block? Jesus is telling the story of Naaman and Elisha when he is in Nazareth – his own home region. And he’s telling this story to his own countrymen who do not accept that Jesus is the messiah and do not recognize his power. There’s an ad running on tv now about saving money on car insurance. A man needs to save some money and his father suggests this car insurance, but the man disregards his advice. Then he sees a tv commercial where a tv dad says the same thing, and this time the man thinks it’s a great idea. People want something fancy and flashy, something different, and can disregard the best answer that’s right in front of them because it seems too ordinary.

Jesus is right in front of us telling us to follow him. Maybe we should do that.

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