Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Lord's Compassion

In today's Gospel, Mark 1: 40-45,  a leper approaches Jesus and says to Him:  "'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.'"

First of all, the leper knows that he is a leper. Do I realize in what ways "leprosy" has invaded my being?   When I am ostracized  by  others, do I realize why others prefer to protect themselves from me?

Second of all, notice how the leper approaches Jesus. He says:  "If you wish., you can make me clean."  Such childlikeness, respect and discipline!    No self-pity. No complaining! No whining. No "Why me-s?"  Just: "If you wish, you can make me clean.'  Lord,  may I, like the leper, first of all, recognize my need to be cleansed? Of what? Most of all, Lord, a "leprosy" that leads me, without my apologizing for my behavior,  to degrade a neighbor, to speak sarcastically to or of others; a "leprosy" that mars my beauty as a Christian in such a way that I am not recognized as your child; a "leprosy" that leads me to believe that I am entitled to being served by others rather than serving others.  The question is: Do we even know what "leprosy" within us needs Jesus' healing touch?

Thirdly, notice the leper's humility and simplicity!  Would I characterize my prayer, my relationship with God, as humble and simple?  Is my prayer even honest when it comes to acknowledging my weaknesses, my violation of another person's right to be treated respectfully, kindly, and lovingly or however I have fallen short of my Christian vocation?

And finally, notice Jesus' response to the leper: "Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him: 'I will it. Be made clean.'"  Jesus is always moved with pity toward us as well and wills to heal us. If we approach Jesus, as the leper did, in humility and simplicity and express our need for healing of that which ostracizes or alienates us from our family, friends, community and even from our true selves, we will be healed in time.

Lord, help me come to you honestly and humbly, knowing and acknowledging my need for healing!

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