By  Allison Gingras

 

 

And a leper came to him begging him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him,
and said to him, “I will; be clean.”
~ Mark 1:40-41

 

The leper came with the posture of humility— kneeling externally and with a beggar’s heart internally. He was seeking the help of a person whose reputation had preceded him, but most likely, this man had never encountered previous to this moment. The leper exemplifies the willingness to trust in what cannot be explained, to hold with hope and trust the teachings of Christ, believing He is who He says and can do what He promises. Desperation perhaps motivates this man’s actions, but as Jesus sees a man’s heart and does indeed grant the prayer to be made clean, we can conclude faith, even if it was as small as a mustard seed, resided within him.

Jesus Swift Response

Jesus response, as one would expect, is loving, swift, and gentle. Hearing the humble man’s cry for help heals him with a touch. Jesus is moved with pity—compassion, sympathy—for the man’s condition. We often see in the Scriptures the mention of touch, not only as a mode of bringing healing but also in the interior life, where one’s heart is touched by the behavior of another. For example, the hemorrhaging woman, pushing through the crowd to merely reach for Jesus’ tassel, touched Jesus’ heart with her faith, which far outweighed the importance of her physically reaching out to Him.

Jesus is immediate. Cleansing this man of his illness not only restores his health but, more importantly, allows the man to return from a life of isolation back into a community. The Triune God, who exists in the Community of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, wills for each of us to also live in communion with others. The devil seeks to divide, while the Lord, the Prince of Peace and Truth, reconciles and heals, lovingly mending our broken places and making us whole again.

Preparing for Lent

On this Sunday before Lent begins, let us prepare ourselves for the season of healing, forgiveness, this precious time of offering penance, atonement, fasting, and sacrifice to our good and loving God who wills for our healing and reconciliation to Him, the Church, and others. We can re-read today’s Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 32, to be reminded of the Lord’s desires for each of His children. To be filled with the joy of His salvation, to have our faults wiped away so we may live clean as snow. To come to Him, especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and have our guilt taken away and our hearts renewed in faith and love. To turn away from our troubles and rejoice with exultant songs of praise! 

May you have a most blessed Lenten season, filled with seeking the mercy of our loving God, who, no doubt moved by compassion, will restore you as well.

 

 

 

Prayer

Today’s Responsorial Psalm is the perfect prayer for today’s reflection:

Blessed is he whose fault is taken away, whose sin is covered. Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt, in whose spirit there is no guile.
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Call to Action

In your Lenten plans this year, find time to come to Jesus in Adoration, seeking counsel and peace. Most importantly, avail yourself of the sacrament of healing- Confession- at least once during the next 40+ days.

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