Bishop’s Homily for the Mass of 24 March 2014

Bishop’s Homily for the Mass of 24 March 2014. Readings: 2 Kgs 5:1-15ab; Ps 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4; Luke 4:24-30
     Today’s first reading tells the account of the Syrian general Nā’ạ∙măn, a great warrior who had contracted leprosy. In one of his conquests, he had taken an Israelite girl prisoner, and she became his wife’s servant. Through this child, he learns of the prophet Elisha, who, she reports, can heal his infirmities.
     When Nā’ạ∙măn visits Elisha, however, the prophet surprises him by saying to simply wash seven times in the Jordan River. This puts the general in a “rage.” “Aren’t the rivers in Syria better than any body of water in Israel?” he asks.
     His servants convince him to do what Elisha has instructed. “My father,” one of them says, “if the prophet had commanded you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather, then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?’”
     So Nā’ạ∙măn agrees to do what the holy man has advised, and “his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”
     Bishop Vasa noted this episode “shows the great contrast between the mind of man and the mind of God. “Nā’ạ∙măn would have performed” any number of extraordinary deeds, had Elisha asked him. But the Holy Spirit wanted to help the general understand “he was powerless” and that “all power rested in God.”
     “No other god acts the way God does,” continued the bishop, “because there is no other God.”
     We humans “prefer” something done in a “marvelous fashion, some great sign.” But God does not typically work in great signs. Rather, He works in “littleness, gentleness, and in great patience,” and in this way “invites us to a deeper, abiding trust in Him.”