Flowers in Church

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 9 October 2022

One of the great signs of God’s work in the world is the action of restoring things to right order, we see this most obviously in the healing ministry of Christ in the Gospel accounts but this is not the only place where God desires to extend his healing hand. In the first reading from the second book of Kings we are told about the healing of a Syrian named Naamen. He is cured of Leprosy which would most certainly have been a slow death sentence for him in his time.

Naaman was given a simple instruction by the prophet Elisha, to bathe 7 times in the Jordan, and because of his obedience God cured him of his affliction. After being cured the desire of Naaman was to make restitution for the healing that he received but Elisha would not receive any gifts. This left the only possible way to give thanks would be to do so directly and so the heart of Naaman turned towards the worship of the God who has worked so powerfully in his life.

The bathing of Naaman in the Jordan can be seen as a foreshadowing of the sacrament of baptism that God would offer to those who want to be healed and set free from sin. Baptism is a healing of our relationship with God, it makes us united in a family bond restoring us and giving us something that we could never hope to earn. Health of the body is one thing but the health of the soul while not as obvious to us is of paramount importance. Naamen the Syrian gives a very good example of what to do once one receives a great gift from God. We too are called to be generous in what ever way we can, we are called to respond in love to that invitation of love which was our baptism. We are called to foster the relationship that began at our baptism, always making the effort to remain in right relationship with God.

Naamen took as much earth as two mules could carry so that he could always offer sacrifices on holy ground. And we too do a similar thing we come to a holy place, a place set aside for the honour of God so that we can present our lives as a sacrifice to him. We do this every Sunday, offering our hard work of the week, our prayers, our needs and the needs of the people around us while we give thanks for  the great work that God has and is accomplishing in our lives. God offered a healing hand to Naamen and God continues to restore all things in Christ, and the truly great news is that we have been invited to participate in this great restoration.

Fr Tony King-Archer

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