Our Gospel reading this weekend is the cure of a leper. The leper approaches Jesus, kneels down in front of Him, and asks to be healed. Jesus, we are told, was “moved with pity,” stretched out His hand, touched the leper, and cured Him.
It is important to note that both Jesus and the leper broke the law: the leper was not allowed to be near anyone; he had to stay at a distance and make a noise to warn people not to approach. Jesus broke the law by touching the leper, thus becoming unclean Himself. In other words, Jesus became unclean so that the leper would be cleansed.
There are a couple points of reflection that I would like to suggest: once again, we hear that Jesus was “moved with pity” for the man, who not only had a severe physical condition, but was also an outcaste of society, even from his own family. How often do we hear that Jesus’ heart was “moved with pity”? When I see others in need, is my heart “moved with pity” enough to nudge me to take action?
Second, by allowing Himself to become unclean, Jesus brought cleansing to the leper. Sometimes we have to be willing to risk, if we are truly going to reach out and help others.
Finally, notice the importance of “touch” in this story. Jesus reached out and touched the man, a man who was isolated from everyone else. That touching, that reaching out, that connection might have meant as much as, or even more than, the physical healing! Most of us don’t have the power to cure someone’s physical illness, but we certainly have the power to cure loneliness, isolation, and rejection.
I invite us to reflect this week on the example Jesus gave us in this Gospel story of how important it is for us to reach out to others and touch them, thus curing isolation, sadness, and despair. We have a lot of power in us to cure: let’s make sure we are using it. God bless.
Church sign of the week: Instead of pointing a finger, lend a hand.