Do You Have a "Naaman Complex"???

Nestled in the second Book of Kings, chapter five, with its 27 verses appears the fascinating person of NAAMAN.  Highly gifted as a military commander of the King of Aram, also highly esteemed and respected by his master and Lord the King, nonetheless Naaman lived with an unspeakably painful suffering: he was a leper!


 Have you ever met a leper personally? No!  Try looking in the mirror the first opportunity that presents itself and you will indeed discover the face of a leper. Many now are shocked at this assertion!  However, let me defend my position!   There are two forms of leprosy: the physical leprosy that is a horrible skin disease---one of the worse diseases in the times of Jesus and the days of the Old Testament; furthermore there is the leprosy contracted by SIN! SIN IS MORAL/SPIRITUAL LEPROSY!

Whether we like it or not, admit it or live in denial, at the moment of conception in our mother’s womb, we contracted leprosy by inheriting from our first parents Adam and Eve the stain and contagion of Original Sin. Adding to this initial leprosy are the many personal/actual sins that we commit; some are venial and unfortunately, others are mortal. Some are small blemishes; others are gaping, ulcerous wounds!

When do we contract leprosy in our soul? Remember that sin indeed is “leprosy of the soul”. Let us examine ourselves from head to foot!  THE MIND!  Every time we willingly allow the smut of moral filth to enter in through the windowpanes of our mind, leprosy! Are bad thoughts sins? No, if we reject them; but yes of we give full consent!  Many spiritual lepers today walk the streets with their minds rotting with the filth of leprosy!

MEMORY!  God has given us a memory to recall with gratitude all of the blessings that He has bestowed on us. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good for His mercy endures forever.” However, calling to mind, fishing in the past and dwelling on ugly memories, memories of sin, most likely ugly romantic relationships and dwelling on them, then we have contracted leprosy of the memory.
EYES.   Do you have leprosy of the eyes?   In a world where we are bombarded from all sides by impure images, contracting leprosy of the eyes happens almost unknowingly and unwillingly, but due specifically because of our lack of vigilance. Remember that to follow Christ is to be in a constant state of spiritual warfare!  Examine this checklist to see of you have tainted your eyes with spiritual leprosy? Immodest programs on TV, especially cable, looking at magazines or papers that show the indecent, wandering eyes on the street taking the second or third look, at the workplace or Mall giving into lust of eyes of the mind and heart, and of widest proliferation and influence the computer (Smart-phone… others) downloading pornographic images----- have you in the past or right now in the present given in to these temptations?  If you have responded in the positive, then humbly admit it you have leprosy of the eyes!!!!

EARS.  Do you have leprosy of the ears?  What do you allow to enter into the gateway of your mind and heart by what you hear?  Once the great Saint John Bosco, as a child, was exposed to a man who told a dirty joke. Years later, the saint lamented that he still could not expunge and obliterate from his memory that ugly story. How memories remain and linger for years to come!   Dr. Adrian Rogers, famous deceased Baptist minister put it bluntly: “Your ears are not a garbage dump for your neighbor to dispose trash!”  Well said, Pastor! Let us go through the check-list on the possibility of contracting leprosy of the ears. Giving full attention to the gossiper of the town, listening willingly to slander or calumny against your neighbor, allowing others to tell lies without any attempt to correct them, listening to bad words, and listening to off-colored jokes, listening to somebody bad-mouth your mother-in-law---- if you have given in to listening willingly to any species of this conversation, then own up to it, you have contracted leprosy of the ears!
TONGUE.  Do you have leprosy of the tongue?  In the letter of Saint James we are exhorted to be slow to speak and to be quick to listen. Later on in chapter three of St. James (an excellent chapter on the sins of the tongue), the Holy Spirit warns us to strive to control the tongue because it can due incalculable evil--- like a small spark can ignite a huge forest fire! Remember also that Jesus says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Still more, Jesus warns us that every word that issues forth from our mouth will be exposed to judgment one day! Wow! Lord save me! Let’s hit the check-list to see if we have contracted leprosy of the tongue? Giving in to lying, gossip, detraction, slander, calumny, back-biting, stretching the truth, yelling, criticizing, fault-finding, insulting, cursing, vulgarities and indecencies, opening up your mouth impulsively without thinking.  Most likely after reading through this extensive list you might have to humbly admit that your tongue is coated with thick layers of leprosy!  To help in our struggle to cure the tongue of leprosy recall to mind two enormous support-tools: 1st , the purpose of speech----it is to communicate the truth with love;  2nd , recall also that on your tongue is deposited(better yet “enthroned”) the Lord of Lord and King of Kings the Eucharistic Lord every time you receive Him in Holy Communion! Nothing unworthy of such a noble King should every issue from the throne which is your tongue! 


Also related to leprosy of the tongue can be added the sin of gluttony in its various manifestations.  Let us go through the check list once again. Do you eat too much, drink too much, smoke to harm you, inhale marijuana or other drugs, imbibe drugs for the purpose of escaping from the problems of life.  If you have willingly collapsed to the sin of gluttony, once again admit it; you have contracted the disease of leprosy! Remember the words of St. Paul, who wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Remember that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; glorify God in your bodies….. “  Also, “Whether you eat or drink, do all for the honor and glory of God…” Paul finally reminds us not to adore the god of our belly!
LEPRSOY OF THE HEART.   Indeed the many forms of leprosy find their origin and genesis in the human heart. Indeed from the very center of the human person--- the heart—that is where leprosy must be detected, admitted, confessed, and extracted!  Let us do the check list once again! Impure motives and intentions, adulterous thoughts, willful anger, bitterness, vindictiveness, envy, jealousy, rivalry, licentious, lewd and lascivious affections and desires, arrogance, conceitedness, a haughty attitude, selfishness and unbridled desire for pleasure. If these fruits of the flesh are not curtailed, curbed and smothered, like a huge conflagration they can consume us and transform us into monsters as well as first class lepers!

GOOD NEWS! THERE IS A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE!    As a remedy for all of these forms leprosy—mind, eyes, ears, tongue, and heart—there is the best of “Doctors” and the name of that “Doctor” is Jesus Christ,  the Divine Physician. Jesus came into this world as our Elder-Brother, but also to heal us and to save us! Even though Jesus ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father, He promised to send His Spirit upon us and to remain with us always even until the end of time. How and where? Response--- In the Church, His Mystical Body, specifically, through the Sacramental system.

If we have contracted leprosy from head to foot, if we are nothing more than a gaping wound, if indeed our whole being is nothing more than a repulsive oozing ulcer, then Jesus is in the business especially for the worse and the apparently most “Repulsive and repugnant of lepers” (these we call sinners/spiritual lepers) St. Paul consoles us with these assuring words: “Where sin abounds the mercy of God abounds all the more.”

In concrete, the Hospital for healing is the church (in particular, the confessional). The Healer is Jesus Himself, the Divine Physician. However, Jesus is present in the person of the Catholic priest—who indeed works in “persona Christi” or “alter christus” (St. Augustine).  As Jesus healed many lepers during the course of his public ministry by either touching them or by His mere word, he continues to heal the leprosy of sin through the Sacrament of healing which is confession.
 Back to Naaman! As Naaman bathed seven times in the Jordan River and his leprous flesh became like the flesh of a little child. (II Kings 5:14). You do not have to go to the nearest river and bath seven times but dive into the nearest confessional and bring all of your leprosy to the Lord Jesus through the priest with faith, true repentance, and boundless trust in His mercy. “And even though your sins be like scarlet they will be made as white as the snow.”
My friends, we no longer have to walk around the world with our leprosy and transmit our leprosy--- which is a highly contagious disease to others! On the contrary, Jesus is the Wounded-Healer, the Divine Physician, indeed our lover and Friend. Jesus will heal us, save us and bring us to our eternal home, heaven, where with Mary we will praise him with pure and innocent hearts for all eternity!