“I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah…. Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4:25-27)
In truth, the grass always looks greener on your neighbour’s lawn. There is a natural human tendency for humans to look down on what they have. There is a saying in pidgin: “pikin wei say he mama soup no sweet nai dey chop poison outside.” The people that saw Jesus grow up from his childhood days could not bring themselves to the realization that Jesus is God among men.
They looked down on Jesus. Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith. Jesus did not even do many miracles there. When he went to their synagogue, Jesus had to confront them with the bitter truth. “Why is it that you cannot appreciate a prophet from your town? Why do you always look down on what is yours? It is because of this attitude that Elijah was sent to Zarephath. There were many lepers in your town but none of them was healed except Naaman the Syrian.”
This did not go down with Jesus’ audience. They took Jesus out of the city and led Him to the brow of the hill on which the city was built intending to throw him down headlong. But Jesus escaped. This is always the fate of those who are bold enough to tell people the truth. The question now is: “Do I value what is my own?”
Even Naaman almost lost out on his supernatural healing because he looked down at the Jordan River. Of course, it was not the cleanest river in the world. Thanks to his servants who spoke sense into his head; it wasn’t the water itself that would cleanse him but his faith in God.
There are some people who argue that unless baptism is done in the river, it is not valid since Jesus was baptised in a river. Following the strength of this argument, one may say unless baptism is done in the very river that Jesus was baptised, it is not valid. And we may even further extend it by saying unless it is John the Baptist himself that is performing the baptism, then it is not valid. Dear friends, baptism is valid so long as water is used. Just as it wasn’t the river that cured Naaman, water by itself does not wash our sins but God.
Dear friends, do not make the mistake of the people of Nazareth. Be content with what is yours. Value your own. Value the Church, and understand its sacraments. Deepen your faith.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, grant me an increase in faith. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: 2 Kings 5:1-15, Ps. 42:2-3,42:3-4, Luke 4:24-30).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu