The Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 8:1-4)
When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” His leprosy was cleansed immediately. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, I ask you to touch my heart that I may pray for what I ought, be made clean, and be filled with your love.
Encountering Christ: Often times, we don’t recognize the healing power of God in our lives. Most of the time we take the gifts God has entrusted to us for granted. We miss the simple things in life. In todays world our lives are filled with everything that tends to move us further from a deeper relationship with Jesus and the Father.
Our gospel today gives us a great example of home much Jesus cares for us. In this example of Jesus healing the leper, we see how Christ enters a deeper relationship with this suffering man. Jesus realized that the leper was isolated from mainstream living. Remember that it was a requirement for lepers to vocally announce that they were unclean.
The leper broke from tradition and risked it all by approaching Jesus, who was certainly being followed/escorted by a large group of people. He focused on the prize of having Jesus’ attention AND he trusted that when he asked Jesus to be made clean that Jesus would not only hear his request, but would in fact make him clean.
Think of the faith the leper had. His trust AND his anxiety about speaking out and approaching Jesus. Do we do the same in our lives today?
We are called into that deeper relationship with our God as we pray. So often we get it all backwards and seem to tell Jesus and his Father what we want – or what we think we need. In reality, we should trust Jesus and his Father to give us what we need. We need to “Let go” AND “Let God” be !!! We must be like that leper who begged Jesus for something (healing).
It would seem that the leper totally trusted that Jesus would heal his leprosy. Perhaps we should think the same way when we approach his Sacrament of Reconciliation. After all, each of us is in need of forgiveness and healing. We could certainly learn from our leper friend that we must truly trust in Jesus AND we must gratefully accept whatever God delivers to us in response to our prayer. We have a true need to surrender ourselves to His will and listen and watch for the signs being given!
Closing Prayer: Lord, I do want to be cleansed of all sin and attachment to this world but I also recognize my struggle to give you complete control. I want what you want, Lord! I surrender myself completely to your merciful hands.
Action for the Day: Spend the day searching for someone who, by his or her actions or words, is like the leper, calling out for help. When you find that moment in your day – be there for them – just like Jesus was for the leper. Who knows….. you might be just the miracle that person needs for the day.