Why is it that some people are more charitable to outsiders than to members of their household? Some couples complain that their partner performs more acts of charity to others than to them! Oftentimes, people are taken for granted or less appreciated by their intimate family and friends. And it is easier for someone to render his or her goodwill to where he or she feels accepted and appreciated. It takes courage and humility for your intimate ones, who are acquainted with your strength and weaknesses, to accord you full respect and appreciation.
Think about the humility of the great army commander, Naaman, who listened to the advice of a little maidservant and acted accordingly. He had every reason not to follow the directive of the girl, including the high risk of returning to his enemy ground in search of healing. So he sought the backup of his king, who armed him with an authorization letter! Then, Naaman gathered wealth to pay for the healing. But his humility was tested more when Elisha sent his servant to instruct him to bathe seven times at the Jordan! But he felt humiliated and insulted after the great preparations and his high personality. He was expecting the prophet to invoke his God with several rituals. Again, his servant advised him to do the simple thing the prophet instructed.
“So he went and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan…And his flesh was restored…” Naaman confessed, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but Israel.” Faith is simple, but sometimes we want to express it in several symbols and complicate the act of worship before committing our energy to it. We easily overlook the simple things but expect God to dwell in the great miraculous signs. How can we hear God if He speaks through familiar voices and events of our life? That is why a prophet is not accepted in his household and country.
It takes great humility and courage for a man of faith to recognize the prophetic message in the familiar voices he hears every day. In this Lenten season, self-denial humbles us and makes us more attentive to divine whisperings within. In almsgiving, we hear the cry of the poor, which speaks of divine consolation to our hearts. In prayer, we speak to God and hear words and feel the touch of His grace. In the prayer of meditation, we humble our hearts and incline our hearts to hear what the Lord says, whether from within our hearts, our household, friends, and familiar events or from extraordinary experiences.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Monday March 8th, 2021.