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-translations
Appearing in all three synoptic Gospels, the cleansing of the leper story reminds us to intentionally ask for and trust in Jesus’ power of healing. This diseased man, isolated and shunned, kneels in reverence and asks Jesus to make him clean “if you wish.” He trusts that Jesus knows what he needs.
When Jesus stretches out his hand and touches him, what happens is more than an absence of illness; he is healthy enough to return to society and interact (not wisely) with his community and those “abroad.” While the cured leper has faith that Jesus will clean and restore him, he trusts Jesus to do as he wishes.
St. Ignatius taught us that our intent has great power, especially as we begin to pray. What part of us—our addictions, our lapses, our insensitivity—could use a healing touch? Will I live in the power of hope, the unwavering belief in Jesus’ healing that this leper exemplifies?
—Charlotte Ahern is a wife and mother of three college-aged children. She is also a spiritual director and retreat leader at Jesuit schools in the Chicago-area.
For some strange reason, Lord, you depend on me. What possible need could you have for my shoulder? Why do you lean on me? Yet you do just that. I am grateful. It is a challenge and a trust, an inspiration and a call to character. If you are willing to depend upon me, weak and clumsy as I am, I am eager not to fail you. Lean on me, dear Lord. At least pretend to find me a help. May your sweet pretense make me worthy of your very real trust.
—Fr. Daniel A. Lord, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!