In today’s gospel we learn about Jesus and his mission to teach to good news to all
A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees: ‘If you want to’ he said ‘you can cure me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!’ he said. ‘Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once and he was cured. Jesus immediately sent him away and sternly ordered him, ‘Mind you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your healing prescribed by Moses as evidence of your recovery.’ The man went away, but then started talking about it freely and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived. Even so, people from all around would come to him.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for letting me begin this week contemplating your infinite mercy and love for me. I need your healing touch to become the saint you created me to be. I know you want to heal me because you gave me the gift of my faith: to know and love you and experience the intense joy of following you.
Petition: Lord, I want to be made clean. Touch my heart and heal me with your merciful love.
1. In Need of Healing: Like the leper in this Gospel, I, too, am in need of healing. He came humbly, as a beggar, for he had no way of repaying Jesus for such a great act of kindness. But his humility was founded on faith. Confident in the scriptural passage, “Do not reject a suppliant in distress, or turn your face away from the poor” (Sirach 4:4), he insisted reverently. He did not doubt that Jesus could cure him, that Jesus would take an interest in an insignificant and anonymous leper. He was asking Our Lord for a miracle, and he knew Jesus would grant it. He also knew that he did not deserve or merit such a gesture of mercy. Even if Jesus refused his plea, he was ready to accept it.
2. Moved with Pity: Jesus was moved with pity. He stretched out his hand to touch the leper, revealing God the Father’s will in a tender way: “I do will it. Be made clean.” Jesus was moved more by the leper’s humble faith than by his leprosy. The leper’s plea struck at the very core of the mission of the Redeemer. Jesus desires nothing more than to remove sin and its effect in us. Jesus “came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15) and said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). The gesture of charity towards the leper foreshadows Christ’s redemptive death for all mankind. Jesus wants to reach out to touch our heart and heal us, too. We believe this to be true. All we need to do is let him, approaching him with humility and exercising our faith.
3. Changed Forever: The encounter with Jesus changed the leper’s life forever. Rather than an encounter with love, it was an encounter of love. Every encounter requires someone’s initiative. Although the leper is the one to approach Jesus, is it not Jesus who first makes himself accessible? In the same way, Jesus had initiated the encounter with his first disciples when he walked along the shores of Lake Tiberius, allowing Andrew and John to ask, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” (John 1:38). Lord Jesus, you enter into my life because you want to show me the way to everlasting life with you. Is it not you, kind and gentle Lord, who invites me: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)?
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you are so merciful to me! Thank you for loving me so much. How anxiously you wait to fill me with your love, to heal me from the leprosy of my sins. Help me to be open to your embrace of healing love, confident that each time I kneel before you to beg your forgiveness, you will be moved with pity to touch me and make me clean.
Resolution: Today, I will imitate God’s merciful love in my own life with everyone with whom I enter into contact: family, fellow employees, friends.