Readings 20150309

http://www.stlukeproductions.com/benedictus-media/mp3/03_09.mp3


The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

THE LOW-DOWN ON SERVING

  “He turned about in anger and left. But his servants came up and reasoned with him.” —2 Kings 5:12-13  

Proud Naaman was surrounded by humble servants. His wife’s servant girl, a young Israelite whose country Naaman had raided, swallowed any national pride she may have held and pointed Naaman to the source of healing. At the house of the prophet Elisha, Naaman’s humble “servants came up and reasoned with him,” leading him to healing in the Jordan’s waters. Such humility was not an automatic response for a servant, as Elisha’s servant Gehazi tragically proved shortly after Naaman’s healing (see 2 Kgs 5:20ff). Naaman’s servants had more to do with Naaman’s healing than did Naaman. 

When Jesus preached at Nazareth, He specifically called attention to the humble servants in Naaman’s party. Where were the humble servants in the synagogue at Nazareth? Apparently, there weren’t any. “The whole audience in the synagogue was filled with indignation” (Lk 4:28). No one served this proud congregation by humbly swallowing their pride, reasoning with the leaders of the synagogue rebellion, and leading them to the healing that Jesus wanted to give (see Lk 4:18Mk 6:5). 

Who will serve by taking the low places? (see Lk 14:10) If no one takes the lowly servant positions, then Jesus gets kicked out of families, workplaces, churches, and towns. Get behind in the world! Serve!

  Prayer: Father, close my heart to pride and open my eyes to Your opportunities. Promise: “There is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.” —2 Kgs 5:15 Praise: St. Frances and her sister-in-law shared a fruitful relationship in Christ. They met regularly for prayer, to care for the sick in a local hospital, and to come to the aid of the poor.   (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)  
  Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014. 
 
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements 


The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

Do you believe that God wants to act with power in your life today? Power to set you free from sin and hurtful desires, fear and oppression. Throughout the Scriptures we see God performing mighty acts to save his people from death and destruction – from Noah’s ark that spared his family from the flood of wickedness that had spread across the land to Moses and the Israelites who crossed through the parting waters of the Red Sea as they fled the armies of Pharoah their slave Master and oppressor.

Throughout the Gospel accounts Jesus praised individuals who put their faith in God as they remembered the great and wonderful deeds he had performed time and again. Jesus even praised outsiders – non-Jews and pagans from other lands who had heard about the mighty deeds of the God of Israel. One example Jesus mentioned was Naaman the pagan army commander from Syria who was afflicted with leprosy – a debilitating skin disease that slowly ate away the flesh (2 Kings 5:1-15). Naaman’s slave-girl was a young Jewish woman who had faith in God and compassion for Naaman her master. She urged him to seek healing from Elisha, the great prophet of Israel.When Naaman went to the land of Israel to seek a cure for his leprosy, the prophet Elisha instructed him to bathe seven times in the Jordan river. Namaan was indignant at first, but then repented and followed the prophet’s instructions. In doing so he was immediately restored in body and spirit.

Healing the leprosy of soul and body 
What is the significance of Naaman’s healing for us? Ephrem the Syrian (306-373 AD), an early Christian teacher from Edessa, tells us that Naaman’s miraculous healing at the River Jordan, prefigures the mystery of the healing which is freely granted to all nations of the earth by our Lord Jesus through the regenerating waters of baptism and renewal in the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

“Therefore Naaman was sent to the Jordan as to the remedy capable to heal a human being. Indeed, sin is the leprosy of the soul, which is not perceived by the senses, but intelligence has the proof of it, and human nature must be delivered from this disease by Christ’s power which is hidden in baptism. It was necessary that Naaman, in order to be purified from two diseases, that of the soul and that of the body, might represent in his own person the purification of all the nations through the bath of regeneration, whose beginning was in the river Jordan, the mother and originator of baptism.” (commentary ON THE SECOND BOOK OF KINGS 5.10-1)

 Jesus told Nicodemus, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The Lord Jesus wants to renew in each one of us the gift of faith and the regenerating power of baptism and the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) which cleanses us of the leprosy of sin and makes us “newborn” sons and daughters of God.

Confronting the sin of indifference and unbelief 
When Jesus first proclaimed the good news of God’s kingdom to his own townspeople at Nazareth (Luke 4:23-27), he did not hesitate to confront them with their sin of indifference and unbelief. He startled his listeners in the synagogue at Nazareth with a seeming rebuke that no prophet or servant of God could receive honor among his own people. He then angered them when he complimented Gentiles who had shown more faith in God than the “chosen ones” of Israel. Some who despised the Gentiles (non-Jews) even spoke of them as “fuel for the fires of hell.” Jesus’ praise for “outsiders” offended the ears of his own people because they were blind-sighted to God’s merciful plan of redemption for all the nations. The word of rebuke spoken by Jesus was met with indignation and hostility. The Nazarenes forcibly threw him out of their town and would have done him physical harm had he not stopped them.

We all stand in need of God’s grace and merciful help every day and every moment of our lives. Scripture tells us that “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). God gives grace to the humble who seek him with expectant faith and with a repentant heart that wants to be made whole and clean again.

The Lord Jesus will set us free from every sinful habit and every harmful way of relating to our neighbor, if we allow him to cleanse and heal us. If we want to walk in freedom and grow in love and holiness, then we must humbly renounce our sinful ways and submit to Christ’s instruction and healing discipline in our lives. Scripture tells us that the Lord disciplines us for our good that we may share his holiness (Hebrews 12:10). Do you want the Lord Jesus to set you free and make you whole again? Ask him to show you the way to walk in his healing love and truth.

“Lord Jesus, teach me to love your ways that I may be quick to renounce sin and wilfulness in my life. Make me whole and clean again that I may delight to do your will.”

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