From the Word of the Day
A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. (Mark 1:40-45)
What is most striking in this scene is the great faith of the leper: “If you wish, you can!” This prayer is short and very simple. In and of itself, it is not even an explicit prayer or a formal request. The attitude of the kneeling leper, who shows his leprosy, is already a silent prayer, but one that is very eloquent. Words count for little, but what they add is essential. They proclaim Jesus’ divine power. It is a lesson in faith because salvation cannot come from us but only as a gift from God. Jesus immediately grasps his great faith and responds: “I do will it. Be made clean”! He uses the theological past tense that expresses the exclusive action of God. In fact, the one who really performs the miracle is not a man or any healer, but God Himself. The leper’s faith in Christ as God is an irresistible prayer for Jesus’ heart.
In addition, it is the sense of humanity and of suffering that touches Jesus in the face of this human reject. The leper was forced to live outside of society. He was an untouchable. Instead, Jesus makes a revolutionary gesture and one that is against the Mosaic Law: He touched him! He should not have done that! However, the Kingdom of God does not adhere to barriers of pure and impure. It goes beyond this and overcomes them. There do not exist men and women to accept and men and women to discard. Jesus came to ‘touch’ and receive everyone, and to begin with the most rejected!
In my pause for silent contemplation, I will ask Jesus to help me be accepting of everyone and to surround everyone with His love.
Lord, if You will, You can!
The Voice of the Liturgy
Heal us, O Father, of the sin that divides us and from discriminations that weaken us. Help us to see even in the leper’s face, the image of Christ bleeding on the Cross in order to collaborate in the work of redemption and show Your mercy to our sisters and brothers.
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