Reading: And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. Mark 1:41.
Good morning, happy Thursday, and many blessings my dear family.
In the opening scene of today’s Gospel (Mark 1:40-45), a leper approaches Jesus. In Jesus’ day, there was no cure for leprosy and leprosy was highly contagious. Given this reality, lepers literally were cast out of society. They had to keep away from everyone as keeping your distance from the lepers was the only safeguard from this disease. As a result, lepers could not live with their families as this would endanger their loved ones. Thus, they existed on fringes of society. Also, they had no means of earning a living so their only option was to beg.
The fact that the leper approached Jesus may indicate that the leper had heard of the miracles and cures that Jesus had done. Even though the leper knew he was breaking all the “rules” by approaching Jesus, the man did not care. He was desperate. The man falls to his knees in front of Jesus and he begs Jesus to heal him, to make him “clean” once again!
Jesus does not hesitate. Jesus reaches out and touches the leper. How long had it been since the leper had been touched? Months? Years? In that simple gesture, Jesus did more than heal the man’s leprosy: Jesus also healed this man’s sense of himself! Without saying a word, Jesus “told” the man that he was worthy of being touched and loved. Jesus not only healed the leper’s disease, he healed this man’s shame. Now the man truly was free! What a wondrous gift Jesus gave him!
The man went forth telling everyone he met what Jesus had done for him. Naturally, many other people sought Jesus out hoping that they also would be healed of their “dis-ease.” Finally, Jesus left the town but no matter where he went, many people continued to seek him out.
Jesus is filled with a deep sense of compassion for the man's plight. Highlighting the emotional feelings of Jesus is a characteristic of Mark’s gospel. What Jesus feels is compassion not just pity. The leper is told not to say anything about his healing. Jesus wanted no sensationalism. But how could the leper refrain from telling everybody about his wonderful experience of healing? He becomes an ardent spreader of the good news. What is the outcome of our experience of knowing Jesus? Do we have the same enthusiasm to share our good news?
What is the “dis-ease” we are dealing with? Is it physical, emotional, or spiritual dis-ease? What is the healing that we long for? Today may we go to Jesus and ask him to heal our dis-ease! However, the healing may not come according to our specifications or our timing. Jesus knows better than we do what we truly need! The question is: will we, do we trust Jesus? Even if we don’t get the answer we want? Today, may we pray for each other that we will trust Jesus in all circumstances of our lives!