March 12, 2012
Monday of the Third Week of Lent
But his servants came up and reasoned with him. "My father," they said, “if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it? All the more now, since he said to you, 'Wash and be clean,' should you do as he said." So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. 2 Kings 5:13-14
Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: "Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Luke 4:24
Father, help us to know how you will reveal yourself to us in the ordinary actions of our ordinary days. Let us revel in the gift of the added hours of sunshine in our days – days that are lengthening in order to announce the season of Spring. Let the daily gift of light and warmth help us to overcome our doubts about your presence in our lives.
The people of Nazareth are having their own personal Naaman moment of doubt. Except in their case, there are no servants around to reason with them. As Jesus sets out in his public ministry, he has just delivered to the people the Nazareth manifesto – quoting from the Book of Isaiah in order to proclaim the scriptures fulfilled. However, the people in the temple where Jesus read from the Hebrew Bible realize that this is “just” the son of Joseph, the carpenter and do not understand the message which has been revealed. They were expecting a Savior King – not a savior who would be born in a manager during the census and grow up the son of a neighbor.
Sometimes we are blessed with the gift of doubt. Our uncertainty also can be fueled by our own unfair expectations of the Lord. God is not some supernatural Santa Claus prepared to bestow gifts upon us. He is the God of “ordinary” time. The gifts he presents to us daily are “ordinary” gifts of earth, wind, fire and water. From these the Lord reveals to us all that is light and all that is darkness.
Let us be careful not to expect the unexpected and the extraordinary, like Naaman and the people in the temple. Instead, let us have ears to hear.
What ordinary action can you do today in an extraordinary fashion? Naaman was healed by the simple act of washing in the river, something done by hundreds of people every day. What ordinary activity can you use to offer your praise to God? Maybe as one of my friends, you can do something ordinary today faithfully with a special prayer in your mind and heart. Driving to work? Meditate on the joyful mysteries of the rosary – a series of ordinary actions announcements, visitations, births, attending church and preaching – and consider how these were made holy by the son of a Jewish carpenter. How can you add your piety to the ordinary action in daily life today?