A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
What a contrast of dispositions between the first reading and the Gospel! In the first reading, God has literally been put into a box and brought out as a weapon against the enemy. In the Gospel, a man suffering from a disfiguring and isolating skin disease kneels in total surrender to Jesus’ mercy. The first way ends in defeat, the second way leads to healing and life.
Sometimes I am tempted to wield God as a tool or weapon, and other times I am tempted to think I must heal myself before approaching God! It can seem like a battle. But Jesus’ way is not battle; it is healing and life!
May we never tire of approaching Jesus’ compassionate gaze in whatever way we can, saying “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus’ answer is always, “I do will it. Be made clean.”
Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him. Show us your face and we will be saved.
— Pope Francis, from his Prayer for Divine Mercy.Please share the Good Word with your friends!