The Gospel Today
Memorial of St. Anthony, Abbot
A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
Reflection (Sem. Jason Villafuerte):
Leprosy was one of the most dreaded illnesses during the time of Jesus. The Israelites considered this disease as a punishment from God; hence they cursed and went away from lepers, thinking that they might catch the same disease and punishment. Putting our feet on the lepers, it was certainly hard to have this sickness. The society outcast these people and barred them from walking in the public places.
Aware of this situation, Jesus did not hesitate to come near the lepers and other sick people. He healed their sickness, thus gaining popularity among the people in every town he went.In today’s Gospel, a leper came to him and begged for healing. Jesus was moved with pity and healed the leper.He warned the person not to tell anyone that he healed him. Now we can ask: who would not be merry a person if healed from a dreaded disease such as leprosy?Would he not be very happy that he was cured? Of course, that person would be filled with great joy; so was the healed leper. And so with much gladness, he publicized that he was healed and who healed him!
We Christians believe that Jesus is always with us. However, as we encounter happy and sad moments, we tend to forget this truth and focus our sight to ourselves and on what we can control.Our free will sometimes leads us away from seeking Jesus. It is sad that we remember him only during our difficult situations or serious sicknesses.
In the first reading, we are reminded that we should not harden our hearts upon hearing the will of God. We are invited to open ourselves to him, just as the leper did. In the Gospel, we can notice that it was the leper who approached Jesus to ask for healing. Why? Because he recognized Jesus as his Savior. He knew that Jesus cared for the sick. In him he found refuge. He trusted Jesus that he can cure him just by willing it. Faith moved the leper to trust Jesus. He opened himself so that Jesus can act on his life.
We too experience joyful moments. We experience happy things, big and small, wherein we are cured from sickness, saved from a difficult situation, and many others. It is good to ask ourselves: are we also thankful that we experience those happy moments? How do we see God in our joyful experiences? Do we remember and thank him when we are happy?
Lord, may we always recognize your presence among us.