2 Kings 5:1-15 / Luke 4:24-30
God is the God of all people.
Sometimes people become so preoccupied with their own problems that they tend to see only themselves.
Their vision shrinks and they forget that there are other people in the world. That happened to the Jewish nation, as a whole, in the years after the return from exile. The Jews turned in upon themselves and, in the process, made God over into their own image and likeness. They made him into a nationalistic God who had eyes only for his Chosen People.
Of course, prophets like Elijah and Elisha had warned the nation earlier about this tendency, but it’s something that needs to be repeated. That’s what Jesus does in today’s gospel.
He repeats an old teaching that the people didn't want to hear.
Do we tend to let our personal problems blind us to other people’s bigger problems?
“We see things not as they are, but as we are.” H. M. Tomlinson (ML)
One of the things that we really dislike and which stresses us out is to be confronted with a challenge and we have no idea as to how to get out of it. It might be an irritated customer that keeps hounding us for a refund and we get caught between the customer and the company's policy. Or it might be our boss who gives us an assignment that is beyond our capabilities and knowledge. In such situations, we can get all flustered up and start to rant and vent out our frustrations.
Such was the case with the king of Israel in the 1st reading. The king of Aram sent him a letter to ask him to cure his servant Naaman of his leprosy.
The reaction of the king of Israel was to tear his garments and rant and vent at the letter and said, "Am I a god to give death and life that he sends a man to me and asks me to cure him of his leprosy?"
Well the king of Israel may have admitted that he was not a god. But he could also have acknowledged that there is the God of Israel whom he can turn to. And prophet Elisha reminded him of this.
It is quite surprising and amazing to see how a nation that had a God who was so near to them would not have turned to God when confronted with challenges and difficulties.
That was what Jesus told the people in the synagogue in Nazara. God had sent prophets after prophets and they did not listen. Ironically it was the outsiders who listened to the prophets.
Let us acknowledge the presence of God who is so near to us and unload all our worries on to Him because He is taking care of us. And let us also carry out the prophetic mission of witnessing to His presence in our world. (SY)