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[This Epistle speaks to us of Naaman, the general of the king of Syrias army. He was cured by bathing in the Jordan, although he did not belong to the race of Israel. Naaman is figure of the heathen or Gentile whom the Church by Baptism cures of the leprosy of sin.]
In those days Naaman, general of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable: for by him the Lord gave deliverance to Syria: and he was a valiant man and rich, but a leper. Now there had gone out robbers from Syria, and had led away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid, and she waited upon Naamans wife, and she said to her mistress: I wish my master had been with the prophet that is in Samaria: he would certainly have healed him of the leprosy which he hath. Then Naaman went in to his lord, and told him, saying: Thus and thus said the girl from the land of Israel.
And the king of Syria said to him: Go, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment, and brought the letter to the king of Israel, in these words: When thou shalt receive this letter, know that I have sent to thee Naaman my servant, that thou mayest heal him of his leprosy. And when the king of Israel had read the letter, he rent his garments and said: Am I God, to be able to kill and give life, that this man hath sent to me to heal a man of his leprosy? Mark, and see how he seeketh occasions against me.
And when Eliseus the man of God had heard this, to wit, that the king of Israel had rent his garments, he sent to him, saying: Why hast thou rent thy garments? Let him come to me, and let him know that there is a prophet in Israel.
So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Eliseus: and Eliseus sent a messenger to him, saying: Go, and wash seven times in the Jordan, and thy flesh shall recover health and thou shalt be clean. Naaman was angry and went away, saying: I thought he would have come out to me, and standing would have invoked the name of the Lord his God, and touched with his hand the place of the leprosy, and healed me. Are not the Abana, and the Pharphar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel, that I may wash in them, and be made clean?
So as he turned, and was going away with indignation, his servants came to him, and said to him: Father, if the prophet had bid thee to do some great thing, surely thou shouldst have done it: how much rather what he now hath said to thee: Wash, and thou shalt be clean? Then he went down, and washed in the Jordan seven times, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored, like the flesh of a little child, and he was made clean. And returning to the man of God with all his train, he came, and stood before him, and said: In truth I know, there is no other God in all the earth, but only in Israel.
[Naaman, the general of the king of Syria, did not belong to the race of Israel, but he was cured by bathing in the Jordan. Let us renew ourselves in the spirit of our Baptism by cleansing our hearts in the salutary bath of penitence. This will cure them of the impurity, the leprosy of the soul, called sin.]
At that time Jesus said to the Pharisees: Doubtless you will say to Me this similitude: Physician, heal Thyself: as great things as we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here in Thine own country. And He said: Amen I say to you, that no prophet is accepted in his own country. In truth I say to you, there were many widows in the days of Elias in Israel, when Heaven was shut up three years and six months when there was a great famine throughout all the earth; and to none of them was Elias sent but to Sarepta of Sidon, to a widow woman. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet: and none of them was cleaned but Naaman the Syrian.
And all they in the synagogue hearing these things were filled with anger. And they rose up and thrust Him out of the city: and they brought Him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong. But He, passing through the midst of them, went His way.