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.
Nobody’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing in this story. Jewish law at the time would have required anyone with a skin disease like leprosy to isolate themselves from others. This man defies the law when he approaches Jesus and asks for healing. Jesus proceeds to ignore legal prohibitions as well when he touches the man – a touch which makes Jesus ritually unclean. And finally, the man disregards Jesus’ instruction not to say anything and tells everyone!
The interaction between this man and Jesus invites me to reflect on the unnecessary prohibitions, the “shoulds” in my life that keep me from God and others.
What gets in the way of my approaching God for what I need?
What keeps me from imitating Christ’s love for the outcast?
How can I let my joy and gratitude to God impel me to share the Good News?
—Catherine Heinhold is the Pastoral Assistant for Ignatian Programming at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. where she facilitates prayer programs and the Young Adult Community.
God, I ask you to give me the courage to overcome any “shoulds” (my own or others’) which may keep me from asking for help or from assisting those need. Amen.
Please share the Good Word with your friends!