Third Monday of Lent

Readings: 2 Kgs 5: 15b / Ps 42: 2-3; 43: 3-4 / Lk 4: 24-30

“The Lord works in mysterious ways.”  I have often heard that phrase but never satisfactorily grasped the meaning of these words of hope. The first reading today, from the 2nd book of Kings, is very insightful towards unlocking the value and wisdom of that phrase. 

Naaman, a strong and respected leader, was afflicted by a serious disease of the times, leprosy. He was encouraged by those close to him to visit a prophet in Israel to seek a cure.  Naaman’s first stop was to visit the King of Israel, who although powerful, was not the prophet that Naaman was meant to visit.  His second stop was at the home of Elisha, a man of God, who offered a simple recommendation: bath seven times in the Jordan. Naaman had expectations that a king should cure him and that the cure would be elaborate, so he did not accept the message of Elisha. While he had faith, Naaman was inhibited by his own ideas regarding what a cure would entail, and was reluctant to take the simple guidance of Elisha. Naaman was counseled by his servants to at least try the simple solution, since his hope was to be cured of his disease. Naaman bathed in the Jordan and was restored to health.

When we prayerfully ask for help and guidance from God or ask for the advice or assistance from family and friends, we typically include a desired solution in our prayers and requests. At times, the guidance we receive is not what we were expecting, so we resist accepting the recommendations or help provided. Like Naaman, in our daily lives we often have expectations regarding a resolution of an issue that may not be met.  Understanding that our requests for help and guidance may be resolved in ways that are different from our perceptions, we should try to have faith that indeed the Lord always will hear our prayers and often works in mysterious ways if we remain open to accept the help that may come our way.

Patti Downey
Assistant Vice President, UNIT