If You Wish You Can Heal Me.
Once again Jesus demonstrates that his miracles are not simply a test of power and personality capability. They are a clear sign of the presence of God who is determined to liberate human beings from the inner roots of evil that are choking them. Leprosy was one of the most dreadful diseases at the time of Jesus’ ministry.
This disease not only disfigures the human body, but also excludes the infected from the community. “Shame drove lepers into lonely exile. Shame can drive us away from Jesus whose love will never fail to touch and heal us.” Sin is like a moral leprosy that disfigures our souls and separate us from God. It disfigures God’s beautiful image in us. Who then can heal us? Jesus is the only one who can restore us to our former beauty.
We must admire the courage of this man with leprosy. He defied public humiliation and made his way toward Jesus. He fell at the foot of Jesus; a sign of submission and adoration which is given to God alone. This man “perceives in Jesus a compassion, a “pity”; like nothing else, the personal experience of sickness and suffering can make one actual aware of the tenderness and goodness of another.”
With profound faith he made his request. “If you wish, you can make me clean.” There was no doubt in his mind. He believed that only Jesus could cure him. Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” Jesus was not ashamed of him and did not discriminate against him.
What a great lesson for us. How often have we looked down on people who are different from us, who are suffering from illness, or those we call bumps; homeless or those whose views and opinions are not in sync with ours. With the history of racial discrimination and political division our communities seem to be in perpetual enmity. Do we create obstacles for others or are we part of the healing process for others? Come to Jesus as you are, without pretense or masks? He does not discriminate and is not afraid to touch you. Do you trust him enough to say, if you wish you can heal me?
The leper in today’s gospel reading is a symbol of all those believers who will experience a similar liberation through baptism. Do you feel the joy of knowing Jesus who touches us every day? Yes, in each sacrament you received Jesus touches you. Do you share with others the joy and healing you received? Are you among those that feel nothing after receiving the graces of the sacraments? Can your family and neighbors say that something is different after you came back from the church? Like the leper, we should feel a wave of enthusiasm coming over us.
However, we must be careful not to impede the work of God. The leper, though overjoyed, almost impeded Christ’s work by ignoring the warning given to him not to tell anyone what happened without first showing himself to the priest. We cannot turn the spotlight on ourselves, rather to the glory of God. Saint Paul tells us “Whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”
Sincerely Yours In The Lord,
Rev. Vitalis Anyanike