The Gospel of the day (Luke 4, 22-30)

Jesus in His homeland

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy[a] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

Who was Neeman the Syrian?

Saint Ambrosius of Milan, About the holy sacraments, Chapter III, 15-18, in Church Fathers and Writers (1994), vol. 53, pp. 12-13

„(…) Do not believe only the physical eyes; what it is not seen is greater; for what it is visible is ephemeral and the others are eternal and they can`t be understood with the eyes, they can only be seen with the soul and mind. In the end learn from the account taken from the Book of Kings. There was a Syrian called Neeman who had leper and could not be healed by anyone. Then a girl from the prisoners told him there was in Israel a prophet who could heal him of leper. He took gold and silver – the Scripture tells us – and went to the king of Israel. Finding the aim of his coming, this one tore his clothes saying he was rather put at test being asked for something which was not in his power. But Elisha sent word to the king to send the Syrian to him to know there was God in Israel. After this one came he advised him to bathe into the river Jordan for seven times. Then this one began to tell him he had better waters in his homeland where he had had many baths but he had never been cured of his leper. Called once again there he didn`t listen the advice of the prophet, but at the insistence and urge of the servants he consented and got in the water. Being healed of it he understood that the fact of being healed did not consist in the power of the waters but of grace. Know now who is this young girl from the prisoners of war: it is the reunion of peoples, namely the Church of the Lord, kept before under the reign of sin when it did not have the freedom given by Grace; at her advice that vain reunion of peoples heard a prophetic word they doubted for a long time. But later when he was convinced he had to follow it, all the dirtiness of sin was washed away. Neeman had doubts before being healed; but you are already healed and therefore you have no right to have doubts anymore.


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