Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Linking Miracle and Faith

Daily Readings
Sirach 18 + II Kings 5 + II Chronicles 16 + Jeremiah 39

Quote of the Day
Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; ….” II Kings 5:15 --Naaman

Daily Text: II Kings 5

Linking Miracle and Faith
Naaman comes for healing, but he does not come humbly. He comes in all the trappings of power. It was enough to express his need; that did not require humility. But when Elijah did not even come out of his house to greet him, the great man was not simply offended, not simply embarrassed, not even angry, he was enraged. To be humble is one thing; to be humiliated is another. Naaman raged and refused to follow Elijah’s instructions. It took his emotionally uninvolved attendants to prick his reason. To dip oneself seven times in the Jordan was after all a simple thing to do. He listened; that was part of his greatness. Once healed he was converted to faith in this YHWH. Here was a man of action. How often we find in Holy Scripture this link between miracle and believing. The link is as necessary today as it has ever been. The problem may be that we, like the enraged Naaman, are not willing to make the necessary act of faith.

Naaman’s Song
Rudyard Kipling

“Go wash thyself in Jordan—go, wash thee and be clean!”
Nay, not for any Prophet will I plunge a toe therein!
For the banks of curious Jordan are parcelled into sites,
Commanded and embellished and patrolled by Israelites.

There rise her timeless capitals of Empires daily born,
Whose plinths are laid at midnight, and whose streets are packed at morn;
And here come hired youths and maids that feign to love or sin
In tones like rusty razor-blades to tunes like smitten tin.

And here be merry murtherings, and steeds with fiery hooves;
And furious hordes with guns and swords, and clamberings over rooves;
And horrid tumblings down from Heaven, and flights with wheels and wings;
And always one weak virgin who is chased through all these things.

And here is mock of faith and truth, for children to behold;
And every door of ancient dirt reopened to the old;
With every word that taints the speech, and show that weakens thought;
And Israel watcheth over each, and—doth not watch for nought….

But Pharpar—but Abana—which Hermon launcheth down—
They perish fighting desert sands beyond Damascus-town.
But yet their pulse is of the snows—their strength is from on high—
And, if they cannot cure my woes, a leper will I die!


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