11 January 2019. Friday after Epiphany
Reflection (Sem. Ivan Joseph F. Feniquito)
Lord, wash away all my guilt, and from my sin cleanse me! In the time of Jesus, a leper was practically a “living dead,” forced to live away from the people. He was separated from the people. Leprosy is an infectious disease. According to Jewish Law, no one should touch a leper. A leper should have bells in order to warn the people that they are around and should be avoided so that they will not be contaminated.
Today’s Gospel presents a remarkable, merciful Jesus. Jesus’ actions of both touching and healing were filled with love. Instead of driving him away, Jesus stretched out his hand and cured the leper. The touch of Jesus cleansed and purified an ill man. Many of the believers courageously did the same act of mercy, like St. Francis of Assisi who embraced the lepers and accompanied them even at the point of their death.
Leprosy is not just a disease. It can be compared today to our sinfulness that isolates us from God and other people. If we commit sin, it is also contagious that infect our whole self as well as our relationship with God. Modern Saints like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, cared for the poorest of the poor, even sinners she embraced by them so as to cleanse their “poverty” and led them to God to purify their sinfulness.
Sin takes us away from God, but He never leaves us. He is very merciful and has a heart that longs for our return to Him; to be reconciled with Him. If only we believe in His power and utter the words, “Lord I believe, you can make me clean!” In the beginning of Year 2019, it is never too late to have a good start. Let us approach Jesus through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and ask for His mercy and pardon. Let us celebrate this prosperous and sacred New Year and embrace the grace of a new beginning with Christ as the manifestation of Light to all nations.
The Gospel Today
It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was;
and when he saw Jesus,
he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said,
“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”
Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
And the leprosy left him immediately.
Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but
“Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing
what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”
The report about him spread all the more,
and great crowds assembled to listen to him
and to be cured of their ailments,
but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.