Friday, January 9 ~ Sixteenth Day of the Christmas Season
Holy Gospel: 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.
Meditation: In today’s gospel the leper who met Jesus did something quite remarkable. He approached Jesus confidently and humbly, expecting that Jesus could and would heal him. Normally a leper would be stoned or at least warded off if he tried to come near a rabbi. Jesus not only grants the man his request, but he demonstrates the personal love, compassion, and tenderness of God in his physical touch. The medical knowledge of his day would have regarded such contact as grave risk for incurring infection. Jesus met the man’s misery with compassion and tender kindness. He communicated the love and mercy of God in a sign that spoke more eloquently than words. He touched the man and made him clean – not only physically but spiritually as well. The Holy Spirit inflames our hearts with the love of Christ that we may reach out to others with compassionate care, especially to those who have been rejected and mistreated. The love of God impels us to do as Jesus did – to love the unlovable, to touch the untouchable, and to forgive the unforgivable. Do you allow the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with the love and compassion of Christ for others? If not, what is holding you back?
Prayer: Cast your kindly light upon your faithful, Lord, we pray, and with the splendor of your glory set their hearts ever aflame, that they may never cease to acknowledge their Savior and may truly hold fast to him. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Jesus did the unthinkable by physically touching the untouchable. Jewish law forbade anyone from touching or approaching a leper, lest ritual defilement occur. Are there people in your life that you might treat as a leper? They may not have leprosy, but the way you sun them, the way you look upon them, the way you treat them, the way you avoid them, perhaps they might as well have leprosy. When someone who is begging for food, or for your pocket changes approaches you for help, do you pretend not to see them? People created in the same image and likeness of God just like you? Think about it…then do something about it the next time someone needs a helping hand, a kind word, and to know that the love of Christ – the love in your heart – is pouring forth to help them.