God’s Power For All People

As we turn to God’s word this week we listen to accounts of healing both in Naaman the Syrian commander and the one of 10 lepers in the Gospel of Luke. At first glance we might find ourselves drawn the importance of having faith, but todays scriptures take us even deeper. We are being led and called to a deeper understanding of God’s power and action in the lives of all who open themselves to Him and His ability to transform their lives.

We are bombarded daily and hourly with many messages and voices of the powerful and influential who seek to dominate and we also witness the plight of the poor and victims of injustice or great catastrophes. We hear promises that our society, nation and world being made better by those who claim to have the answers, to other voices that go unheard and unnoticed as they struggle to find freedom or to seek justice. Many are troubled and concerned about what they hear and see each day.

In our reading this weekend from 2nd Kings we find the Syrian commander Naaman stricken with leprosy. Naaman when told to see the Prophet Elisha expected some great spectacular feat to occur. However, when instructed by the prophet to wash in the Jordan he becomes smug and belittles the muddy Jordan in comparison to the great waters of his own land. You see his particularity in seeing himself and his land above that of those he would consider less than and insignificant nearly robs him of God’s healing and power. After being encouraged by

God’s justice, power and transformative power is not limited to the powerful or a particular group. God’s ability and grace is available to all who will open themselves to Him and trust in His love and power to work effectively in their lives. In the case of Naaman he is humbled as he is healed, transformed and restored. Not only is he healed but he and all his company come to have faith in God.

The most outcast and peripheral individuals were the lepers in the ancient world. They were restricted to live outside the city away from people. We see again in the healing of a leper from Samaria that God’s power is not restricted to a particular or singular group. The gift salvation is universal all are invited to share in the saving power of God. Jesus says “ your faith has made you well”. Let our faith take us deeper to not only see the universal gift of salvation, but to also see that through our faith we are called to seek justice for the oppressed, the forgotten and all who find themselves on the peripheries. Pope Francis in his encyclical Fraterlli Tutti challenges us:

“The world exists for everyone, because all of us were born with the same dignity. Differences of colour, religion, talent, place of birth or residence, and so many others, cannot be used to justify the privileges of some over the rights of all. As a community, we have an obligation to ensure that every person lives with dignity and has sufficient opportunities for his or her integral development. (118)

Our scriptures today speak to this universal love of God as those seemingly unworthy and unlikely experience God’s great power to heal, restore and make new. We see a simple slave girl teaching the Commander Naaman to find God’s mercy and love not in grandeur and spectacular gestures, but in the least and most unexpected places.

Pope Francis says:

Each of us can learn something from others. No one is useless and no one is expendable. This also means finding ways to include those on the peripheries of life. For they have another way of looking at things; they see aspects of reality that are invisible to the centres of power where weighty decisions are made. (215)”

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