Monday of the Third Week of Lent
2 Kings 5:1-15
Lent: Fasting from Anger, Feasting on Patience
In today’s Gospel selection, Jesus was rejected by the people of his home town of Nazareth because he was too familiar to them, his words too challenging, and even his family background too simple. He was "taken for granted". The people rose up against him in anger and wanted to throw him over the hill of the town. Jesus patiently moved through their midst, and went away.
In the reading from 2nd Kings, Elisha’s directions to Naaman for the cure of his leprosy were at first shrugged off because they seemed too simple and commonplace. "Go and wash seven times in the Jordan…" Naaman went away angry – until others patiently reasoned with him…and he was cured.
Both scriptures speak of anger in the hearts of people, and the destructive force it carries. The word itself has roots that connote choking and strangulation. No doubt, anger "chokes" our personal growth, our relationships; it is destructive on many levels! In our anger, we lose perspective on life and close ourselves inward. We need the grace to change and grow.
This Lent, we’re encouraged to have a change of heart. As we become more aware of our gifts as members of God’s family, God offers us the grace to change: to move away from the anger that may try to "strangle" us, to a renewed patience that helps us see every person, every event in life as part of God’s Plan for us and our world. To move from anger to patience: a challenge! So necessary!
Let’s not forget: With God all things are possible. Let’s be open to the graces of Lent, and be renewed on every level of life.
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.