PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Sunday, March 11, 2007

 

Biblical numerology: se7en


I love the number seven because my birthday is on a Sept. 7. In the Bible, seven is a magic number. I cut and paste this one to do the explaining:

Monday, March 12, 2007

Meditation
2 Kings 5:1-15

Readings

Why did Elisha tell Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan River? Why not six, or eight, or just once, for that matter? Its true that in Scripture, the number seven represents completeness. The world was created in seven days, and the Sabbath falls on the seventh day. Nevertheless, we might still wonder, why did he have to repeat this action so many times?

Not until we look more deeply at what Elisha was asking of Naaman do we realize why it is significant. Elisha wasnt just going to stretch out his hand and heal Naaman; he required something from him. He was asking Naaman to be humble and patient, and to follow his request no matter how difficult it might be for him. He wanted Naaman to act on the belief that the God of Israel was in control.

In the same way, God often asks something of us that will help bring us in touch with his healing power. When we go to Confession, for instance, we may bring certain instances of sin—and of course we will be forgiven. But if we want to be freed from the grip of a sinful habit, one trip to the confessional may not be sufficient. We may need repeated washings through Reconciliation. We may need to repent of underlying attitudes that have given rise to this pattern. Or perhaps we need to take a proactive stance, avoiding the occasions in which we are most vulnerable to the sin.

Weve all dealt with persistent patterns of sin. Perhaps we are gripped by a tendency towards impatience or anger. Perhaps we constantly find ourselves complaining or gossiping. Whatever our transgression, we should not be discouraged. Jesus told us to forgive seventy times seven times, so we know he understands our weakness and is with us in our struggle.

Remember, too, that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is about more than simple pardon for our sins. Jesus wants to pour out healing every time we confess. Like a good doctor, he knows that our healing may require patience and persistence. Not all medicines work immediately, after all.

Father, I praise you for your unfathomable mercy! You forgive me no matter how many times I fall! Pour your healing power on me that I may grow in your love and grace!

Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3-4; Luke 4:24-30


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