Reflections - February 11, 2018

“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 him and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”  The leprosy left him immediately.”
Mk. 1:40-42.
 
In this Sunday’s Gospel I would like to first highlight this phrase:  “Moved with pity, Jesus touched him”.
 
Let us reflect on some of the details.  Who was that man that Jesus touched?  He was a leper and a contaminated man that had to live separated from the community by several kilometers in distance.  He was like an outcast, like, as some that feel lonely and live close to us in our society and family express, “invisible”.
 
That alienated man approaches Jesus with deep humility saying:  “If you wish, you can make me clean”.  Here humility and mercy was found, and of course, the law, which prohibited anyone to approach these people much less touch them in order to not be “contaminated” was ignored. 
 
Sometimes the law can become a trap in which we can all fall in order to escape the practice of mercy.  Jesus not only heals, but also touches the contaminated man because mercy can only be done with love.
 
The leper also teaches us a lesson.  When we practice the virtue of humility, or simplicity of life, we recognize our own limitations and our smallness.  “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean”.  A gesture of humility has a merciful response from the God of love that never abandons us and who knows what are our strengths and our diseases.  Jesus, true God and true man, immensely loved the leper.  “I do will it.  Be made clean”. 
 
Let us ask the Lord in the Eucharist to help us recognize and go meet the needs of the alienated and the needy of our community with humility and mercy.
 
I would like to remind you that this Ash Wednesday begins Lent, a time of fasting, prayer and mercy.