“Remember Jesus Christ,
raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
such is my gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.”
2 Timothy 2:8-10
Naaman was a man of success but a foreigner who had a dilemma: he needed help to restore his health yet was unsure of putting his trust in the prophet of a religion not his own. He was asked to do something illogical as part of his healing – to plunge seven times into the Jordan river which was not as grand as one of his rivers back home. He is about to give up when he is talked into trusting what was asked of him. Upon doing so, his leprous flesh was healed, and he gave thanks to God and sought to offer a gift to the prophet Elisha. To show how grateful he was, he asked for two loads of earth to take back home to so he could pray to the one true God of Israel while standing on this holy ground.
Just as Elisha’s word led to Naaman’s healing, so too did Jesus’ word, which instructed the ten lepers to show themselves to the priests, have the power to heal. In the passage above from today’s second reading, Paul acknowledges the power of God’s word which can never be chained. It’s amazing how Paul continued to minister to others while imprisoned by writing letters and admonishing fellow prisoners, as we know from the book Philemon, reminding us that indeed no human circumstance or person can restrain God’s word. We too are called to believe in this power and have a spirit of gratitude for the blessings that God gives us. Only one of the ten lepers came back to offer thanks; may we offer daily prayers of thanksgiving for all of God’s goodness to us.