Thursday, January 14, 2016
Reflection: Mark 1:40-45
Thursday of the First Week of Ordinary Time – Mark 1:40-45
Today’s Gospel begins with a leper coming to Jesus, kneeling at His feet and begging Jesus to make him whole, to make him clean. At this time in history, there was not any treatment for leprosy. The only safeguard was for a person to keep his or her distance from individuals with leprosy. Jesus, however, did not seem concerned about the possibility of contracting leprosy. When the leper approached Him, Jesus was moved with pity for the man. He reached out and touched the leper. 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 one way of saying to the other person: 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 most people kept themselves at a distance from him. If they saw the leper coming, they likely chose to give him a wide berth or perhaps found a different route to avoid being anywhere near the leper. The pain, isolation and shame of those with leprosy must have been overwhelming.
Who are the “lepers” in our day, in our world? Who are the individuals that we treat as a “leper” by avoiding or ignoring him or her? It may be that we simply do not like the person. Perhaps they are needy and desire more from us than we am willing to give. Maybe they simply “get on my nerves.”
Do we truly desire to be like Jesus? If so, the question we need to ask ourselves is: are we willing to reach out and touch the individuals we usually avoid? I pray we can answer “yes.” Will we risk exhibiting this kind of radical love?