Dear Readers, as OXYGEN tradition holds, we have our Lenten Call for Volunteer Contributors to share their reflections on Holy Saturday for the Easter Vigil (26 March) readings. On this day, there is a beautiful Liturgy of the Word where 7 different Readings from the Old Testament Scriptures are accompanied by a Responsarial Psalm. We encourage our readers to send in reflections based on each reading.
Some of you may feel a little spark of fire and desire to share what God has done for you or shown you this Lent. We hope and pray that the Holy Spirit’s nudge may inspire you to action. Write to us: oxygen[at]thecatholicwriter.com before 10 March and we will get in touch with you for one of the 9 readings for Easter Vigil Mass (these would be simple as each reflection is based on one reading).
2 Kings 5:1-15
Naaman, army commander to the king of Aram, was a man who enjoyed his master’s respect and favour, since through him the Lord had granted victory to the Aramaeans. But the man was a leper. Now on one of their raids, the Aramaeans had carried off from the land of Israel a little girl who had become a servant of Naaman’s wife. ‘She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would approach the prophet of Samaria. He would cure him of his leprosy.’ Naaman went and told his master. ‘This and this’ he reported ‘is what the girl from the land of Israel said.’ ‘Go by all means,’ said the king of Aram ‘I will send a letter to the king of Israel.’ So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten festal robes. He presented the letter to the king of Israel. It read: ‘With this letter, I am sending my servant Naaman to you for you to cure him of his leprosy.’ When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his garments. ‘Am I a god to give death and life,’ he said ‘that he sends a man to me and asks me to cure him of his leprosy? Listen to this, and take note of it and see how he intends to pick a quarrel with me.’
When Elisha heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent word to the king, ‘Why did you tear your garments? Let him come to me, and he will find there is a prophet in Israel.’ So Naaman came with his team and chariot and drew up at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent him a messenger to say, ‘Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will become clean once more.’ But Naaman was indignant and went off, saying, ‘Here was I thinking he would be sure to come out to me, and stand there, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the spot and cure the leprous part. Surely Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, are better than any water in Israel? Could I not bathe in them and become clean?’ And he turned round and went off in a rage. But his servants approached him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? All the more reason, then, when he says to you, “Bathe, and you will become clean.”’ So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.
Returning to Elisha with his whole escort, he went in and stood before him. ‘Now I know’ he said ‘that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel.’
Jesus came to Nazara and spoke to the people in the synagogue: ‘I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.
‘There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah’s day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha’s time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.’
When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away.
Why is God so complicated? Is he really? Perhaps over two thousand years, the teachings and in depth studies of God and in the generations of the Church have become complicated for us to understand. People who are not able to read or have the capacity to understand complex writings will take the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church a rather difficult book to read, much to say, even to understand. I am one of them.
I tried reading the CCC once, its white hard cover and smooth finish on the cover seems like a rather cool book to carry around and try to read and understand. Not that I am proud to say, but I could not get through even a quarter of it. Our Lord and Saviour and the motives of our God Father is never a complicated one. When we read the Bible, various teachings and emphasis from the Father and through Jesus are constantly reminding us to be a person of love, of faith and of mercy. Jesus is much about simplicity, He was sent to our world to be sacrificed and died for our sins. If that is not showing much about love, I do not know what is. We can reflect our Lord’s actions through the daily lives in which we live in. The sacrifices made by people in order to show love unto others. The healing that goes on in this world, whether to be healed physically or emotionally or even spiritually, can be found in the works of man.
As with many, I sometimes find apologizing difficult. Someone once told me to just walk up to the person whom you have wronged, invite him over coffee and then just say a simple ‘sorry’ and that will do. What I had going on in my head was to think of a nice place, expecting to pay for dinner and perhaps make a little homemade gift to show my apology. Then I realised, that act of saying ‘sorry’ is so simple yet difficult to do but perhaps is the most sincere gesture one could ever receive.
We expect and would like to complicate the situation thinking that more is fanciful and effective, but with our Lord, He lives simply and we love the Father back with the beauty of a child. There is to be no lies and no ulterior motives in the way we act and behave to our neighbours. In this way, we will be filled with the laughter and happiness, living in positivity and healing, being loving children of God the Father.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: As I begin my week back at work or in school Lord, lead me through a positive attitude and trust in You that simple gestures of kindness will help those around me.
Thanksgiving: I thank you Lord for my family, my spouse and children, my friends, my supportive workmates for being there for me.