When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
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.
If you ask people what the opposite of suffering is, most people would answer “joy.” But as we see in today’s Gospel, there’s a necessary step that needs to happen first: healing. In order to move to joy, we have to be healed from whatever it was that was afflicting us – a physical ailment as in our Gospel today, an addiction, an abusive relationship, a healing of our financial lack. Christians know this almost intuitively. We know that the suffering of the Messiah was actually the catalyst for healing – first, with the little band of broken Jewish disciples, and then, as a free invitation for us all to heal, stretching to the ends of the earth. Pentecost, if nothing else, was a moment of healing first, for only then the joy of evangelization was unleashed. Healing our lives. Healing our suffering. Healing us, so we can go forth and do the same.
“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” In this quiet moment, is there something within that needs the healing touch of Christ?
—Deacon Chuck Thompson is the Director of Adult Ministry at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.
Today I come to you a leper, Lord.
As I was yesterday, and the day before.
It’s always been a part of me, it seems —
it’s just who I am, part of my relationship with Your world.
Burdened with anxiety, stress and fear.
But I’m here now to ask that you heal me,
for I have looked at myself – repeatedly, fearlessly, humbly —
and desire to change what needs to be changed.
If You wish, you can make me clean.
If You wish, you can heal me once again.
—Deacon Chuck ThompsonPlease share the Good Word with your friends!