The WORD in Other Words by Fr Gerry Paat SVD (Philippines) for Friday After Epiphany
Two things caught my attention in today‘s Gospel.
First, the admirable effort done by the man covered with leprosy in trying to present himself to Jesus. It must have been very difficult for him who was declared officially “unclean” to get close to Jesus. But because of his deep faith in Jesus and his strong desire to be healed he did not mind the difficulty and what other people would say of him.
While Jesus knew very well the unfortunate situation of the lepers, shunned and despised, he granted right away his request to be healed because Jesus saw the great effort he made. Our effort, therefore, matters in the eyes of God.
Second, the bold and daring response of Jesus in stretching out his hand and touching the man covered with leprosy. He did not bother whether He would be contaminated with the sickness and become “unclean” himself. He just let mercy and compassion ooze from Him. He did not mind the consequences. His only concern was the healing of the leper.
It can also be viewed as an act of sacrifice, as sacrifice being the best expression of love. A true lover is willing to sacrifice. His/her priority is not so much himself/herself but the well-being of his/her beloved.
May we imitate the example of the leper to make every effort to come close to Jesus no matter how sinful and imperfect we are. At the same time, may we imitate the example of Jesus to love and to care no matter what it takes.