They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them
and went away. (Lk 4:29-30)
Naaman, the Syrian, was a great military leader in the time of Elisha, the prophet. However, as we heard in the first reading at Mass today, his power did not prevent him from contracting leprosy.
One of Naaman’s slaves was an Israelite. She said that she was confident that her master could be healed if he went to the prophet, Elisha, in Samaria.
When Naaman presented himself to the king of Israel at the behest of his leader, the king of Aram, the king of Israel became distraught because he feared that the king of Aram was looking for an excuse to go to war with Israel. He tore his garments in anguish. Elisha heard about his king’s actions and told him to send Naaman to him so that he could cure him.
Naaman went to Elisha and Elisha told him to plunge in the Jordan river seven times and he would be made whole.
Initially, Naaman was furious at the instructions, saying that there were just as many pristine bodies of water in his own country. However, his servants told him that he should do as the prophet had said since the instruction itself was relatively innocuous.
Naaman did as he was instructed, was healed, and converted. He would no longer believe in any God other than the God of Israel.
In the Gospel, Jesus, having problems with the people accepting His word, reminded them that a prophet is not without honor, except in his own native place. He reminded them that no one was healed of leprosy in the time of Elisha except for a foreigner, Naaman.
The people who heard that were furious and wanted to destroy Him. However, He walked through their midst and left.
FAITH ACTION: There are times that the words of the Lord affect us negatively. Like Naaman, sometimes, when we hear from our religious leaders what is expected of us, we become infuriated as well. What teaching of the Church unsettles you or angers you? Are you willing to look at it more closely and see how it it tied to the teachings of the Lord? That might help you to accept what you hear.