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Something easy

I’ll get back to the MMQB series shortly, but I only have a smidge of time to write something that’s buzzing in my head since Mass this morning.  In the first reading this morning we hear from the 2 Kings 5:1-15, the story of Naaman the Syrian leper who is cured by Elisha.  The problem is, Naaman doesn’t like what Elisha tells him he has to do to be cured (simply wash seven times in the Jordan) and goes away angry.  Only after counsel (and, I’d have to guess uninvited counsel at that) from his servants does Naaman do as Elisha told him and is indeed cured of the leprosy.

What was the problem with what Elisha had told Naaman to do?  It was not that it was too strenuous a request – indeed the problem was quite the opposite. ““My father,” they said, “if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it? All the more now, since he said to you, ‘Wash and be clean,’ should you do as he said.” (2 Kings 5:13)  The problem was not that he was requested to do something too difficult, too severe – the problem was that he was asked to do something entirely too simple, so simple in fact that his pride was insulted and he went away angry.

For all the kibbutzing we do about how hard it can be to be a good Catholic (and let’s face it, we all do at some point or another) it’s really a very simple request – as I posted yesterday, it all boils down to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Lk 10:27)  I know I, for my part, would rather be given some high, grandiose and seemingly impossible task to do – something I could really sink my teeth into and use as obvious inspiration like that mountain peak still afar off.  Being asked the difficult and even the impossible appeals to our egos and if we’re asked for something simple it seems like a letdown, and sometimes just like Naaman we walk away angry or at least disinterested.  But God isn’t after our egos, he’s after our hearts – expecting him to entice the former rather than the latter is the way of the devil.

So c’mon, I dare you (and, yeah, me) to try that seemingly too simple to bother thing to which Jesus has called us.  Love.  With your whole heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  You might find that it takes just a wee bit more work than washing seven times in the Jordan, and the end result won’t just be a body free of leprosy but a soul free to soar to the heights of unimaginable bliss.

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