March 16: Monday of the Third Week of Lent

Anonymous German Master, The Naaman Plaque, The British Museum, London, 12th cent.

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Second Kings 5:1-15
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4
Gospel: Luke 4:24-30

And Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. . . There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian (NRSV, Lk 4:24,27).”

Let us pray.

Father, how often some of us among your holy people attempt to put a claim on you. It is so easy for us to consider you as “our” God instead of God “for us.” We try to use you in so many ways, as if we are the only ones to whom you speak or the only ones whose interests are yours. We pray in our holy places pretending that you listen only to us. We even go to war against our neighbors convinced that it is you who lead us into battle against sons and daughters who are also yours.

Luke tells us, when Jesus spoke in the synagogue in Nazareth making reference to the wonderful things that you did through Elijah in feeding the Widow of Zarephath and her son in Sidon and through Elisha in healing Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy, that the people rose up in their anger and tried to kill Jesus.

Father, may we realize that you speak the same one Word to all peoples, in every time and place. In fact, it is the presence of your Word to everyone of us at the depth of our being, a presence that is never denied or abrogated, that finally makes us to be human beings. It is the share in your own divine life, first offered in our mother’s womb through the Word and accepted by us in the power of the Spirit, that begins our everlasting pilgrimage as human beings.

Each of us, Lord, comes to a fuller understanding of you admittedly in different ways influenced by so many factors that surround us. Help us, Lord, to recognize you and your truth in all of our fellow human beings even when it is dressed in cultural garb that may at first seem alien. Truly it is by listening to the many voices of your one family that we can all come to a greater understanding of the same Word spoken to everyone of us.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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