2 Kings 5:1-15
Luke 4:24-30


The people in the synagogue in today’s Gospel see the Jewish Nation as being the sole heirs to God’s favour. But, in pointing to the cure of the Syrian, Naaman (as described in our first reading) Jesus proclaims a God of universal welcome, a God of life to all, no matter their nation, gender, age or any of categories with which humans divide themselves from each other – and we could add religious affiliation to that list.  The good people of Nazara are unimpressed with Jesus’ imputation, to say the least!

Having a sense of cultural affiliation gives us an important sense of identity and belonging.  It’s only when that leads to exclusivity, arrogance, hostility towards other groups, and sometimes violence that culture can become dysfunctional.  We have seen this throughout history and continue to see it today.

Pope Francis suggested recently that Naaman is an image of the Church in its present difficulties. He was a man of great deeds but had leprosy, just as the Church does great work but suffers from the cancer of clericalism, i.e. cultural superiority. Yet Naaman is humble enough to ask for help, which comes from a nobody, a Jewish slave-girl, who tells him that the God of the Hebrews can bring him healing. Naaman had to swallow his pride.  Is it possible that Church healing will come from listening to the poor and humble of the earth?

And might our preparedness to walk a mile in the other’s moccasins help us all to be more accepting of difference and thus to be more Christ-like?

Brian Norman has been associated with the Passionists in various ways since he was three weeks old when he squared off with Fr Placid Millay CP over the baptismal font at St Brigid’s, Marrickville.