“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 amongst humans to look down on what they have. There is the 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 of 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, understand its sacraments. Deepen your faith.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase faith in me. Amen. Bible Study: 2nd Kings 5:1-15, Psalm 42 and Luke 4:24-30).
Employ your Gifts for one another.
“Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another. As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1st Peter 4:9-10)
Every human being is a bundle of potentials. Made in the image and likeness of God, there is virtually no limit to the range of human positive possibilities.One of my favourite quotations goes thus: “It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us the most.” When we actually consider what we are capable of doing if we let our light shine, we become scared of ourselves. There is so much good inside of us waiting to be explored, waiting to be shared, waiting to be discovered and used by the millions of people out there. There is so much you can do for God. We exist to be good. We are alive to touch people positively. It all begins with allowing our inner light to shine.
If you have the talent of speaking, let your words be uplifting, if serving is your talent, serve as though you are an Angel from heaven, if it is writing, then write what is true and beneficial to your readers. Whatever is your gift, use it to build up the community. Peter was shocked when his net caught such a huge catch of fish on a broad daylight. He had worked all night long without any success but only reluctantly threw his net into the sea at the command of Jesus. Peter represents a lot of people in our world who have no idea of their potentials until they meet Jesus. And just as Peter obeyed the word of Jesus to cast his net into the sea, we would all be surprised what we are capable of doing, if only we decide to obey God’s words every day of our life.
We remember St. Patrick today, a man who like Peter fully explored his spiritual potentials making such a huge catch of souls in Ireland. So much so that the faith was firmly established in that country. Virtually every family had a priest or sister. And by extension, we are eternally grateful to the Irish missionaries who evangelized our country Nigeria. Through one man St. Patrick, millions have been touched. Do you know what you are capable of doing if you just let your light shine???
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, use me till nothing else is left of me. Amen. Bible Study: St. Peter 4:7-11, Psalm 96 and Luke 5:1-11).