Have you noticed that during the pandemic the Governments and health authorities asked citizens internationally to take very simple measures to stay safe? What advice did people receive? It was simply to wash hands, maintain a social distance, wear a mask, and stay within a restricted boundary. People discovered that simple rules were difficult to keep. Money cannot buy medicine to heal Covid-19. Thank God, with the work of the scientists and research, the world is procuring vaccines. The challenge is to ensure that there is an equal distribution of vaccines among all countries.
Today’s reading from 2 Kings 5, proclaims the healing of Naaman’s leprosy. Naaman, a Syrian, and army commander of the King of Aram had a disease called leprosy. He had a servant who was in a position to help. She suggested that Naaman go to the prophet in Samaria and he would cure his leprosy. Naaman told the King of Aram what the young girl said and the king told him to go to the prophet. Naaman set out and brought many expensive gifts with him to pay for his healing. The king read the letter Naaman brought and he was indignant. He said, ‘I am not God to give life or death.’ Elisha, the prophet knew that the king was distressed and he sent a message to him. Elisha then sent a message to tell Naaman to go to the river Jordan and wash seven times and he promised healing for him. Naaman was angry because of the simple thing the prophet asked him to do. His servants challenged him. Nevertheless, Naaman went down and bathed himself in the river as Elisha ordered. Healing took place. At this, Naaman realised that there was no other God anywhere in the world but in Israel.
There is much to learn from this reading today. Notice that Naaman received no great privileges or special attention. Naaman expected some great gesture of cleansing. All he did was simply have the water flow through his skin. Naaman’s healing is a gift. There was no need to bring presents to the king. The Lord gives as he wills. All God asks is that we appreciate his love and mercy. In this Scripture passage there is a reminder of baptism, in the flowing of water, which heals the baptised person from original sin.
Baptism is part of the preparation for Easter because it is then that we renew our Baptismal promises and our Baptismal call. Catholics do that each year at the Easter Vigil. Confirmation candidates also renew their Baptismal promises when receiving the sacrament of Confirmation. The Baptismal promises take the form of question and answer. In saying the promises, we renew and refresh our belief in God. The catechumens prepare also for Baptism.
Today we celebrate International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women and raise awareness about gender equality. Today we pray for all people, men and women that they will respect the dignity of one another. We pray that all people will adhere to the Declaration of Human Rights so to build a world of justice, love and compassion. We remember Mary, Mother of God who models gratitude to God in praising God for the great things God did for her. We pray for those who work to raise the dignity of others daily.
Today, the Church celebrates the memorials of St John of God and St Senan.
VERITAS publications provide online resources for the theme of Baptism. These and the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-books are available free of charge on the Grow in Love/ I nGrá Dé website.
- From your Bible read the story ‘Naaman healed of leprosy’ (2Kings 5:1-15)
- Can you find the story in the New Testament of where Jesus cleansed the 10 lepers?
- From your Bible or your Grow in Love /I nGrá Dé e-book, read the story of Jesus’ Baptism (Matt 3.13-17. Mark 1.9-11. Luke 3.21-22).
- Find out some facts about St John of God, who devoted his life to the poor and the sick. Find out about St Senan, an Irish saint who was born near Kilrush, Co Clare.
- Which rules do you find most difficult to keep during the pandemic?
- Think about the great things that God did for Mary, his Mother
- Why is it important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
CHAT AND VISIT
- Chat to your family about the experience of your Baptism. If you were baptised in your parish Church, your family might like to visit the Church, see the baptismal font, bless themselves and say a prayer of thanks to God.
- The Apostles’ Creed/ Cré na nAspal
- Hail Mary/ ‘Sé do bheatha a Mhuire
- The Magnificat
- St John of God, pray for us
- St Senan, Pray for us.
Sr Anne Neylon