Monday of the Third Week of Lent
2 KGS 5:1-15AB/LK 4:24-30
Today’s readings challenge our faith insofar as we identify with God’s chosen people. For these readings describe Elisha’s miraculous cure of the leprous general, Naaman, who had raided Israel and enslaved a little girl, as well as how Elijah comforted the starving widow in Zarephath. Why would God’s prophets prefer to bless those who do not belong to the chosen people?
In the Gospel, Jesus answers that “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.” In other words, familiarity breeds contempt—a contempt that is even willing to kill, as shown by the reaction to Jesus’s words.
On the one hand, this is a warning to all of us familiar with the sacraments and the Mass: we too can become first complacent and then disdainful of the Lord’s presence in the Eucharist, the other sacraments, our lives, and the lives of others. Blindness and ignorance follow as does the horror of attempting to live as if there is no God. Another result is that the holy ones of God—like Saint Clement Mary Hofbauer whose feast day we celebrate today—face additional difficulties in doing the Lord’s work.
On the other hand, Jesus is more than a prophet to us: He is the loving Savior who through Baptism and the Eucharist not only bestows eternal life but also fellowship with God himself.
Let us then heed the Lord’s warning and always stir up within ourselves gratitude for Jesus Christ, eagerness to help his holy ones, and the determination to live for the Lord in appreciation of the divine life and fellowship that He bestows through the Holy Spirit and Mother Church.
R. Mary Lemmons, Ph.D.
Department of Philosophy