Lk 4:24-30 Leave Behind All Your Big Things

Monday of the Third Week of Lent
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Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:  “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.”

Namaan the leper.  Today’s first reading is absolutely beautiful.  It is the story of an army commander who had more than he ever imagined, including leprosy.  His illness brought him to his knees and to the river Jordan.  It is there he discovered “there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel” (2Kings 5:15ab).   

Have I allowed my trials and tribulations to bring me closer to the one true God? 

Conversation the easy way.  Every conversation to God requires an admittance of powerlessness.  I am not as strong as I think I am.  I am not as intelligence as I think I am.   I need a Savior.

The atheistic group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is demanding that Governor Scott Walker remove a tweet he sent from his official twitter account.  At first, I thought the poor governor had sent some scandalous or outrageously shocking or appalling or terrible or awful message to his followers.  Instead, this is what he sent:  “Philippians 4:13″  That’s it.

If you look it up, it reads: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

FFRF co-presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Baker wrote in a letter to the governor. “To say, ‘I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me,’ seems more like a threat, or the utterance of a theocratic dictator, than a duly elected civil servant.”

Wow!  Immediately, I thought to myself, This outrage to belief is unbelievable.  It appears I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Next, I thought, Wait. Tens of thousands of politicians in the United States have used Bible verses and asked for God’s blessings in their speeches and among their supporters.  Using Twitter is no different.  Now they can communicate with their followers with ease.

Finally, I said to myself, The FFRF is doing what they do best:  intimidate.  Their philosophy is simple:  Create hysteria around a simple tweet and maybe we can persuade Gov. Scott and others like him to never send out a religious tweet again. 

I don’t know if you remember, but not too long ago, President Obama made a comment that ruffled a few GOP feathers.  He said: 

“We are not just going to be waiting for legislation…I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.”

Imagine for a moment if the GOP came out with a statement along the same lines as the FFRF: “To say, ‘We are not just going to be waiting for legislation…I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,’ seems more like a threat, or the utterance of a dictator, than a duly elected civil servant.”

What do you think about that?  Sounds pretty ridiculous, right?  Sounds like they may have taken his words out of context, right?  And although we all know “the pen is mightier than the sword,” I don’t believe the President intends to use it as a weapon of mass destruction on the Constitution.

It’s time for the FFRF to take it easy.  Relax.

Take it easy.  Naaman was a man who always thought big, real big.  After all, he was accustomed to being in charge, giving out orders, moving great armies and invading great cities.  He wore big hats and a lot of them. 

But it nearly cost him his life.  It’s for these same reasons he had a rough time listening to and accepting the advice of a little Jewish servant girl.  “If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria, he would cure him of his leprosy” (2Kings 5:3).

What are you saying?  A Jewish prophet can cure me, a great commander, of leprosy?  Who are you trying to fool??? 

And yet, humble people have a way of gaining our respect and trust.  The little Jewish girl ended up convincing her “master” to go and try it out. 

On his journey to the prophet’s home, Naaman took with him horses and chariots, a letter from the King of Aram, ten silver talents, six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments.  He must have said to himself, This is going to cost me a lot of convincing and a lot more money!

But none of these things turned out to be necessary.  The only thing Namaan had to do was wash himself three times in the river Jordan.  That’s it.

Wait?  Are you serious?  Is that all?  How can this be?  How can it be so simple?  I thought you were going to wave your hand or a magic wand all over me and heal me!  This is ridiculous!     

I have had similar reactions from people who have not been to confession in years.  Forgiveness is ridiculously simple.  What takes time and some effort is getting there.

Holiness is not complicated or costly.  It doesn’t require an army moving mountains, but faith the size of a mustard seed.

I hope in the Lord, I trust in His word. (0)

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Fr. Alfonse (1035 Posts)

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