Lk 1:26-38 A Little Girl
In an interesting article published by chiesa.expressonline.it, Sandro Magister writes, with regards to the Holy Father’s driven vigor to restore meaning to the Lenten season, that the Pope is taking the initiative to “open a court of the gentiles” who seek God. In the Sacred Temple of Jerusalem, there was a place where gentiles were allowed to congregate. The Pope is interested in “making God present in this world and to show all men and women of good will, the way to God.” This initiative is already underway.
Why? Because this is the mission of the Church. We are called to pastor, protect, provide. We are called to give reason for our faith, our hope and our love. Why do you believe in God? I believe because he has done great things for me. He has called me to “come follow” him. He has called me “friend”. He was the first, the Lord, to enter my soul: “It is no longer I who live in me, but Christ who lives in me.” Christ loves to enter the scene. He comes out of Himself and creates the Universe. He entered the world, front and center by back stage left! He did not come into the world just for the Jews. He came for all. He did not just come for me, he came for you too. He is the solution to all our problems.
Today, we hear about the healing of Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram. He was a pagan, a gentile, a soldier of an occupying force. He had it all. He was respected, admired, feared, powerful, strong, courageous, victorious and most likely handsome. He had brought many victories to his king. He had honors, medals and titles. His image was plastered on every dirt wall. He should have been the happiest man in the world. Instead, he was miserable.
He was a leper. He was in pain and he was dying. All his medals, honors, titles meant nothing to him.
[Scene] Enter front and center by back stage left a little girl.
During one of their campaigns, the Arameans had captured a little Israeli girl, who became the servant of Naaman’s wife. She wanted to help her master. Why? To show the power of her god, the God is Israel. Like many kids, they are not shy when it comes to expressing themselves. “Hey mom, look! That man’s nose is falling off!!!” Shhhh….
Blessed are the children, for theirs is the kingdom of God! She was not shy in telling the truth about her God, nor was she shy in sharing him with others, even the worst of pagans! Her faith was strong. With a girl’s heart and the courage of a man, she approached her master and told him, salvation comes from YHWH.
If we dig a little deeper, we see that this little girl is the complete opposite of Naaman. He is the Commander, yet she orders him around. He is highly esteemed, she is highly underestimated. He is well respected, she is a slave. He is valiant, she, a faithful follower. He is sick, she is full of life. He is proud, she is humble. She shared the only wealth she owned: the Lord. Naaman had given up all hope.
While I was a fund raiser in the Midwest, we traveled around in our rented car visiting families that could help maintain our seminary. We had just arrived in Minnesota and to the home of a beautiful, numerous Catholic family. When we parked the car, the alarm went off inside our car. We didn’t even know we had an alarm! We tried looking for a button to turn it off and we couldn’t find it. It was making so much noise. We called to find out what to do. As we were calling I asked the smallest child, age ten, what we should do? He told me with those innocent eyes, “Pray.” He was right! We prayed and immediately, not even two seconds later, the button was found and the alarm was turned off. It takes the faith of a little child to open the eyes of adults.
This little girl reminds me of another little Jewish girl who prayed and said “yes” to the Lord and (indirectly) opened the eyes, ears and tongues of many throughout Israel and beyond.