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Proper 23

2 Kings 5.1–3, 7–15c
2 Timothy 2.8–15
Luke 17.11–19

The story of Naaman has got everything. To begin with, the hero is a thoroughly likeable character. (Well, I suppose you could argue that Elisha is the real hero of the story, and no one could call him exactly likeable.) Naaman gets on well with his wife, his slaves and his king, which suggests an unusual gift for friendship. His servants even like him enough to be a little cheeky (see 2 Kings 5.13). But, at the same time, he has ordinary human failings. He is a little too aware of his position, and he does like to be treated with respect.

Next, the story is very funny, specially if you put in the verses that the lectionary suggests you leave out. The King of Israel’s response to the request to heal Naaman is pantomime stuff...

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