“So Naaman went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored and became like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.” 2 Kings 5:14
Fr. Thomas loved this story of Naaman. You really need to read the whole story in 2 Kings 5, but here is a quick summary:
Naaman was a good commander of the army of Syria. The trouble was he had leprosy. Naaman’s wife had a servant girl who told her mistress that Naaman would be healed if he went to see Elisha the prophet. So he went.
Elisha did not come out but sent a messenger to Naaman telling him to jump in the Jordon river seven times, and then he would be restored and cleansed. Naaman was mad and didn’t want to do it, but his servant talked him into it.
Naaman then humbled himself, jumped in the river seven times, and he was completely made clean.
Fr. Thomas also liked to use skits to illustrate Bible stories to teach us. One skit performed using this scripture became an all-time favorite of ours. In it, the young man playing the part of Naaman was a tall, skinny guy who, after being talked into jumping in the river, took off his shirt, got up on a bench in the room, and jumped off of it onto the floor seven times, acting like the water was freezing. He then concluded his Oscar performance leaping around with joy since he had been healed.
I have never forgotten that skit, and I think of it often. This time I was pondering how Naaman must have looked before he took his seven-time plunge. Leprosy rots the skin, fingers, nose, mouth, limbs, feet, etc.
Then I meditated how he looked after the plunge…with the flesh of a little child. That is an extremely drastic change.
From there I thought of how this is what happens to us in confession. Sin eats us up…like leprosy. The more we let it go, the more sin rots away at us.
But when we go to the sacrament of reconciliation, we get washed and come out clean. We are made new. We feel so good, like weights have fallen off us.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a real gift. We do need to humble ourselves (as did Naaman) to confess our sin. But oh the joy when we hear those refreshing words, “I absolve you from your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
We don’t jump in the Jordon River, but we do walk into a spiritual bath and come out restored. Alleluia!
Let’s keep taking that plunge!
Mary Ann / Mother Hen