January 16, 2020
A leper came to Jesus 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.” (Mark 1:40-45)
If I had been a witness to the event in today’s Gospel, I am not sure what would have amazed me more – a leper approaching Jesus or Jesus touching the leper. Both of these actions would have been unheard of. Lepers were forbidden to approach others. As a matter of fact, they were required to call out, “Unclean! Unclean!” if anyone came near them, to warn others of their condition.
And yet, we have this leper engaging Jesus. Showing his tremendous faith, the leper said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” He expresses no doubt as to Jesus’ ability to heal.
Jesus rewarded this faith in two ways: First, He healed the leper of his affliction. Second, and just as powerful, He offered the leper human contact, something the leper would not have experienced for years.
With that simple touch the leper learned that he was worthy of love and that his unrelenting faith would be rewarded.
When we consider ourselves unworthy, when the shame of our sins make us feel like lepers, we must have faith. We must remember: There is nothing we could ever do to make God love us less…nothing.