“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, and deserted by everybody.” – Mother Teresa
Gospel Text: (MK 1:40-45)
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.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning the him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
He said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
In today’s Gospel, we see the healing of a leper (this means you and me). Leprosy in Scripture is more than just a physical illness, it is also a metaphor for sin. Leprosy itself is not sin, but it resembles sin and what sin does to us spiritually. For sin, like leprosy, disfigures us; it deteriorates us; it distances us (for lepers had to live apart from the community) and brings death if it is not checked. Yes, sin is a lot like leprosy.
How are we to lose our leprosy and find healing?
Step One – Admit the Reality - The text says, A leper came to Jesus, and kneeling down, begged him and said, “If you wish you can make me clean.” Notice that he knows he is a leper; he knows he needs healing. He humbles himself, kneeling, and pleads for cleansing. Like the leper in the Gospel, we must start with step one: admitting the reality of our sin and humbly asking the Lord for help.
Step Two –Accept the Relationship – Notice two things.
First, the leper calls on the Lord Jesus. In effect he seeks a relationship with Jesus, knowing that it can heal him. Second, note how the Lord responds. The text says that Jesus is moved with pity and touches him.
Step Three – Apply the Remedy - Having healed the leper, Jesus instructs him to follow through in the following manner: See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them. To us “spiritual lepers”, the Lord gives the same instruction: “Go show yourself to the priest.” In other words, “Go to confession!” And the Lord adds, “Offer for your cleansing what is prescribed.” That is to say, “Offer your penance.”
Step Four – Announce the Result – When God heals you, you have to tell somebody. There’s just something about joy. It can’t be hidden. And people notice when you’ve been changed.
Yes, tell somebody what the Lord has done. If the healing is real, you can’t keep silent.