Tag Archives: 2 kings

Hindsight is 20/20

Last night’s St. David the King young adult Bible study went well. We had a great crowd, 14 in all, just able squeeze around the large table in the Spiritual Reading Room.

Our series looks at the Old Testament and Gospel readings that we’ll hear on Sundays, because they’re thematically related. In the interest of time, I leave out the Second Reading because it is often not thematically related: it’s usually just sequentially chosen from the epistles.

But upon reading the Second Reading for this coming Sunday (2 Timothy 2:8-13), I immediately saw a connection:

This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him. (verse 11)

The imagery of dying and rising (or living) with Christ is embodied in the sacrament of baptism, and baptism is prefigured in the Old Testament reading, in Naaman’s plunging into the Jordan to be cleansed of his leprosy.

It’s a shame that I don’t include the Second Reading, since it would also introduce a different form of Scripture (that is, the epistle). But there’s always the next series.

Readings for 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

2 Kings 5:1-19
RSV NAB
5:1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. 5:1 Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram, was highly esteemed and respected by his master, for through him the LORD had brought victory to Aram. But valiant as he was, the man was a leper.
5:2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little maid from the land of Israel, and she waited on Naaman’s wife. 5:2 Now the Arameans had captured from the land of Israel in a raid a little girl, who became the servant of Naaman’s wife.
5:3 She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 5:3 “If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria,” she said to her mistress, “he would cure him of his leprosy.”
5:4 So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the maiden from the land of Israel.” 5:4 Naaman went and told his lord just what the slave girl from the land of Israel had said.
5:5 And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten festal garments. 5:5 “Go,” said the king of Aram. “I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman set out, taking along ten silver talents, six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments.
5:6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 5:6 To the king of Israel he brought the letter, which read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
5:7 And when the king of Israel read the letter, he rent his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.” 5:7 When he read the letter, the king of Israel tore his garments and exclaimed: “Am I a god with power over life and death, that this man should send someone to me to be cured of leprosy? Take note! You can see he is only looking for a quarrel with me!”
5:8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you rent your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 5:8 When Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent word to the king: “Why have you torn your garments? Let him come to me and find out that there is a prophet in Israel.”
5:9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the door of Elisha’s house. 5:9 Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house.
5:10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” 5:10 The prophet sent him the message: “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.”
5:11 But Naaman was angry, and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and cure the leper. 5:11 But Naaman went away angry, saying, “I thought that he would surely come out and stand there to invoke the LORD his God, and would move his hand over the spot, and thus cure the leprosy.
5:12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 5:12 Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?” With this, he turned about in anger and left.
5:13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had commanded you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather, then, when he says to you, `Wash, and be clean’?” 5:13 But his servants came up and reasoned with him. “My father,” they said, “if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it? All the more now, since he said to you, ‘Wash and be clean,’ should you do as he said.”
5:14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. 5:14 So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
5:15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him; and he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” 5:15 He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival he stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. Please accept a gift from your servant.”
5:16 But he said, “As the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. 5:16 “As the LORD lives whom I serve, I will not take it,” Elisha replied; and despite Naaman’s urging, he still refused.
5:17 Then Naaman said, “If not, I pray you, let there be given to your servant two mules’ burden of earth; for henceforth your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the LORD. 5:17 Naaman said: “If you will not accept, please let me, your servant, have two mule-loads of earth, for I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any other god except to the LORD.
5:18 In this matter may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon your servant in this matter.” 5:18 But I trust the LORD will forgive your servant this: when my master enters the temple of Rimmon to worship there, then I, too, as his adjutant, must bow down in the temple of Rimmon. May the LORD forgive your servant this.”
5:19a He said to him, “Go in peace.” […] 5:19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said to him.
Luke 17:11-19
RSV NAB
17:11 On the way to Jerusalem he (Jesus) was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 17:11 As he (Jesus) continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
17:12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 17:12 As he was entering a village, ten lepers met (him). They stood at a distance from him
17:13 and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 17:13 and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
17:14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 17:14 And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed.
17:15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 17:15 And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
17:16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17:16 and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan.
17:17 Then said Jesus, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 17:17 Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?
17:18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 17:18 Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
17:19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” 17:19 Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C): 2 Kings 5:14-17 • Luke 17:11-19

For October 6, 2016

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)

Opening Prayer

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Heavenly Father,
your Son commanded us to love one another as he has loved us,
and he taught us that he loves us as you love him.
We ask you to send your Holy Spirit upon us as we read your word,
so that as we come to understand your love for us
we may better love you, and all you have created, in return.
Amen.

St. Jerome: pray for us.
St. David: pray for us.

First Reading – 2 Kings 5:14-17

📕 The six books of 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, and 1-2 Chronicles tell the history of the kingdom of Israel and its kings (11th to 6th centuries BC), from its beginnings under Saul, its flourishing under David and his son Solomon, and then its division into two kingdoms.

📖 Verse 14 begins with the word “So”. This implies that it follows something, and you need to read further back to know why Naaman is plunging himself into the Jordan. Verse 13 begins with “But”, which again implies that it follows something. Verse 12 is in the middle of a quote, and verse 11 begins with “But” again. Read verses 1-19 for the bigger picture.

🌎 Aram was a country to the west of the northern kingdom of Israel, where modern-day Syria is located. Some translations of the Bible use “Syria” for “Aram”.

🌎 Israel at this time was divided into a northern kingdom (called Israel) and a southern kingdom (Judah). The southern kingdom retained the original capital city of Jerusalem, which was home to the Temple of worship and sacrifice; the northern kingdom instead set up two cities of worship, in its southern and northern extremities, and was often chastised by prophets for abandoning true worship of God. At the time of 2 Kings 5, the capital was Samaria, a centrally located city.

🌎 The Jordan River was an important feature in Israel’s geography. The Jews crossed over it from the east into Israel, “the promised land,” after the decades-long exodus from Egypt. It was also the site where John the Baptist carried out his ministry of baptism.

👤  Naaman was not an Israelite, but an Aramean, and the commander of his king’s army, a man of great stature and wealth; he also suffered from a persistent skin disease (although not the same as modern leprosy). The Arameans had their own gods (see verse 18).

👤  Lepers were outcasts in Jewish society, because their illness (which is not the same as modern leprosy) could be contagious and even incurable. The Old Testament contains laws to keep lepers separate from healthy people, and descriptions of rituals concerning their re-admittance when they are found to be free from their disease by the priests, but there is no mention of how to cure leprosy. Less than a dozen people are identified as lepers in the Old Testament; Naaman is the only one whose cure is recorded. The king of Israel in 2 Kings 5:7 considers curing leprosy to be an act of divine intervention.

👤  Elisha was a prophet living in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and the successor to the prophet Elijah. As a prophet, he received revelations from God which he was to pronounce to the people to whom God directed him: sometimes to Israel, and sometimes to other nations.

Gospel – Luke 17:11-19

📕 St. Luke was the author of both a gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Luke reports at the beginning of his gospel that many others had already compiled narratives of the life of Jesus, and that his is “an orderly account” intended to assure you (the reader) of the truth of the things you have heard. Both Luke and Acts are addressed to “Theophilus”, which may have been a person, but it may just be a generic term (because it is Greek for “lover of God”).

📖 Verse 11 begins with Jesus on the way to Jerusalem. Jesus has been preaching in villages in Galilee and Samaria, and is going south to Jerusalem for the final stage of his ministry.

📖 Jesus alluded to Naaman at the beginning of his ministry in Nazareth, that there were many lepers in Israel during Elisha’s time, but only a foreigner was cured (see Luke 4:27).

📖 Earlier in the gospels, Jesus cures a leper by touching him after the leper expresses his faith that Jesus can cure him simply by willing to do so. (see Luke 5:12-16)

📖 The Greek word used in verse 19 (“saved” or “made well”) comes from sozo, a different verb than “cleansed” or “healed” in the other verses. It means “to rescue, preserve, heal, save.”

🌎 By the time of Christ, the city of Samaria had been renamed Sebaste by Herod the Great. Instead, “Samaria” now generally referred to a region (see John 4:3-5) in between Judea to the south and Galilee to the north. These three provinces comprised the land of Palestine. Jerusalem was located in Judea; Nazareth, where Jesus lived with Mary and Joseph, was located in Galilee. Jews lived in Judea and Galilee, but Samaria was home to Samaritans, who worshipped the gods of five other nations in addition to the God of the Israelites.

Study Questions

🗣  What links can you find between the Old Testament and Gospel readings?

🗣  Why does Naaman at first refuse Elisha’s instructions?

💪 When are we like Naaman, trying to do things our way rather than God’s way?

🗣  How does Naaman’s healing change him,
and why does he ask Elisha for a pile of dirt (see 2 Kings 5:15-17)?

🗣  How does Elisha respond to Naaman’s difficult situation (see 2 Kings 5:18-19)?

🕊   What sacrament is foreshadowed by Naaman’s healing?

🕊   What is implied by the way the ten lepers address Jesus (see Luke 17:13)?

🗣  Why is it significant that the leper who returns to Jesus is a Samaritan?

💪 How does sin make us like the lepers in the Gospel?

🕊   How did the Samaritan’s healing change him? (Compare Luke 17:12 and 17:16.)

🗣  How does the Samaritan’s gratitude set him apart from the other cured lepers?

🗣  How does this encounter with a leper differ from an earlier one (see Luke 5:12-16)?

🗣  Who was responsible for Naaman’s cure? Who was responsible for cure of these lepers?

❤️ How does the time we spend in prayer asking God for something compare to the amount of time we spend in prayer of thanksgiving?

Commentary

It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons (d. 202), Fragments, 34

 

Consider This

Have you ever done something for someone who did not thank you in return? How did you feel?

Have you ever been neglectful in thanking someone for a kindness they showed you?

Reflection

🗣  What have I learned about who God is,
so that I can love Him better?

🕊   What have I learned about Christ,
so that I can recognize his love for me better?

💪  What have I learned about the Christian life,
so that I can show my love for God and neighbor better?

❤️  How can I incorporate into prayer what I have learned,
so that I can express my gratitude for God’s love?

Closing Prayer

Almighty God,
help us to recognize our neighbors in need,
especially those whom the world treats at outsiders.
May their gratitude remind us to be grateful
for all the healing that you work in our lives.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.