“His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy.” 2 KGS 5:14-17
Respect and Trust.
The first reading speaks to the power of God with which Naaman experiences when Elisha cleanses him of his leprosy. Naaman proceeds to believe in God in all of his wisdom and glory. When I was reading this story, I was curious. At what point does Naaman believe that Elisha, the man of God, can help him with his leprosy. Well at some point (before the story begins) Naaman had to listen to what Elisha had to say about God’s healing powers. It’s a good thing Naaman wasn’t close minded and convinced of his incurable disease with which he might experience constant suffering.
Oftentimes, we struggle with listening to the other people around us in our lives. If Naaman did not trust and respect Elisha enough to cleanse himself in the river Jordan, he would still have leprosy. In my own life I am guilty of getting self absorbed every now and then, but I try to actively listen and give care to each and every individual I come into contact with. Yes, it is hard to be so readily available to have a conversation with someone when you are worried about an exam you have in two minutes. We have busy lives and responsibilities that take up a lot of time and we won’t always be happy and chipper, and God understands that. But at some point we need to step back and reflect about how we can do better to listen, respect, and trust in our daily actions. The reading, today, displays respect which leads to trust when healing occurs. Good things happen when we as individuals let decency and respect shine through in our daily actions. God has granted us many gifts and he expects nothing but recognition in return. Recognize the opportunity to be a better listener in your own life, for it’s never too late to start.
The gospel reading, in contrast to the first reading, shows disrespect by nine of the ten lepers in regard to their self-absorbed behavior based on their condition. Nine of the lepers disrespect Jesus by not thanking him for his wondrous deed of healing. The one leper that went to the priests and came back to thank Jesus was saved by his faith. We are challenged to show respect and trust even in times of heartache, misfortune, and wrongdoing. There are people in the world that will notice your respect and reflect this good-natured behavior back to you showing kindness and understanding towards you in hard times. We must use our wonderful gifts from God to be trustworthy and respectful people because we too can be saved by our faith by demonstrating goodness in the world.