Thursday, January 15, 2015

Reflection: Mark 1:40-45

First Week of Ordinary Time – Mark 1:40-45

The scene in today’s Gospel opens with a leper coming to Jesus, kneeling at His feet, begging Jesus to make him whole, to make him clean. There was not any treatment for leprosy at that time. Thus, lepers were outcasts. Keeping your distance from those individuals with leprosy was the only safeguard there was at that time.

Jesus, however, does not seem concerned about this reality! When the leper approaches Him, Jesus is moved with pity for the man. Jesus simply reaches out and touches the leper and immediately the leper was healed!

I wonder how long it had been since anyone had touched the leper? We all need to be touched in a caring way. It is a way of saying I care about you, I am concerned about you, you are important to me. Not only had the leper not been touched, but I imagine that people kept themselves at a distance from him. If they saw the leper coming, they might choose to give him a wide berth or perhaps find a different route. The pain, isolation and perhaps shame of those with leprosy, must have been intense!

Who are the “lepers” in our day, in our world? Who are the individuals that I (and you) may treat as a “leper” at times by avoiding them or ignoring them? Perhaps I simply do not like them or they may be needy and desire more from me than I am willing to give, or perhaps they simply “get on my nerves.”

Can we, can you and I, be more like Jesus? The question is: are we truly open to being more like Jesus if it means reaching out and touching the individuals we usually avoid? I pray we can answer yes. . .but will we?

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