The Gospel according to Luke (5:12-16)
It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And the leprosy left him immediately. Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, in this moment of prayer I come before you and place myself at your feet. Give me the patience to gently set aside the rushing distractions in my mind and heart and open that space within me to you. I believe that you are happy I am here, that you wish to give yourself to me, and that you are faithful. Cleanse my heart today and strengthen me by your grace.
Imagine the smell, the sight of this man full of leprosy so far progressed. It was a human illness that the healthy could do nothing about but shun, hide from, and shamefully and quietly try to forget. This man was someone’s brother, someone’s son. Yet, according to the law, he had to be cast out and left to this infirmity’s painful progression. Now, the physical disease is rare and curable, yet spots of spiritual leprosy within us are all too common. Do we have a soul-sickness, something within that needs healing, but which cannot be healed on our own? Do we shun, hide from, or shamefully and quietly try to forget these sore spots, binding them tightly under layers of metaphorical bandages? Or do we, like this leper, prostrate ourselves before the only one who has the power to heal our leprosy?
It’s almost uncanny to think about this gospel and the people of that day. Lepers were required to yell out and warn people as they approached or passed by. Sound familiar? We see people today that test positive for Covid-19 and we immediately want to place them somewhere else away from us and from any contact. We don’t ask any questions – nor do we know when and where did they test positive – only that they are the “lepers” of today. Our homeless on the freeway on and off ramps or those sitting on the bus benches do we see them as lepers as well and avoid them at all cost?
Do we translate that type of behavior into our daily spiritual lives as well? When we see that homeless person who is dirty by our standards or who smells different than we do; are we quick to send them away, ignore their presence or very existence, or move them far away from us so as to not to have to deal with them or speak with them, much less offer them help?
This is but one example of how we can find ourselves passing judgment OR ignoring others and forgetting that we are called to embrace others and see Christ in them. We ourselves ARE called to bring Christ back to the center of our own lives, and when we do, hopefully we put Christ on display for others to see and to marvel at.
We are not called to keep our faith and knowledge of Jesus and the Father to ourselves. We are called to take them boldly in our daily interactions with others around us and hopefully we will return back home at
the end of our day falling on our knees thanking God for the opportunity to share His love with others and help make our world a better place for all humanity.
Let us be the modern day leper, recognizing our own personal faults, failings and acts of omission each day and give thanks to God for His gift of love, which heals us and forgives us, allowing us to start “new” tomorrow.
Closing Prayer: Gracious God, help me to recognize the many gifts you give me today and grant me the strength to openly display those gifts and share them who I meet this day. Never let me falter by not seeing an opportunity to bring you to the very forefront of my day. AMEN
Action for the Day: Today as I go about living my day, I will stop 3 times to give thanks for the multiple gifts you are asking me to share with others. I pause to give thanks for your infinite love for me and those whom you put in my path this day. They are like the many petals of beautiful flowers.