Grace to you!
God's purifying grace isn't complicated. God's salvation is the simplest thing ever to human progress and redemption.
The story of Naaman, a Syrian Army general who was suffering from leprosy as recorded in the Second Book of Kings 5:1-15b quoted by the Lord in Luke 4:24-30, is an example. Naaman, coming from a world with a different religious belief, believed that a miracle of healing has to be complicated. He wanted the prophet of the true God to do some magical incantations and ask him for difficult tasks. Perhaps, so he can feel he earned the healing. He is like us when we tend to believe that our efforts and the rigors of our human-made mechanisms determine the extent God responds.
But, the grace of God, the sanctifying grace or the grace to make good, holy choices at each moment called habitual grace, aren't like that. God's grace is the simplest and most available gift to anyone. It is like the river overflowing and watering all who open the garden of their hearts to it.
Take, for instance, the grace flowing from Baptism, the great sacrament of Christian initiation. The minister pours or drops some water upon the candidate. He announces, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." As simple as this, it makes the baptized a new child of God. The person is automatically elevated to the status of a new creation, someone born anew in Christ. It isn't complicated.
By the power of God, the most pure and simple miracles of incredible grace occur.
The Eucharist is another example. For us Catholics, we believe that the simple prayer of consecration over the bread and the wine makes the substances become the Body and Blood of Christ. It is so because we announce and do what the Lord Jesus has told us to say and do. Since they are his work, his word, those become changed as the Lord says. Our mysteries are powerful and not complicated.
Another example is Confession, appropriately called the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Through it, we receive mercy, grace, healing, and reconciliation with God. We are also made whole in the body of Christ, the Church. As the last words of the prayer of absolution—prayer decreed over a sinner by the priest—is announced, we are healed. "I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." It isn't complicated.
It is, for me, incredible news of joy to hear the simplicity of the Good News and God's saving grace. That grace awaits you and me. It flows, inviting us to come and drink and be filled, satisfied.
I pray that during this lent, the power of the Holy Spirit may heal us. May grace be abundant in our lives. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
[Monday, Lent, Week 3: 2 Kings 5:1-15b; Lk 4:24-30]
Father Maurice Emelu, Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth and inspiration. They are designed for a general audience. They may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons.