June 28, 2013

The Gospel Today 

Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

Mt. 8:1-4

When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.
And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said,
“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”
He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
“I will do it. Be made clean.”
His leprosy was cleansed immediately.
Then Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one,
but go show yourself to the priest,
and offer the gift that Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”

Reflection (Sem. Jason Villafuerte):

Our Gospel today narrates the story of a leper who made his way to see Jesus and ask him to make him clean. During the time of Jesus, people who have leprosy are considered grave sinners because their sins have manifested in their physical features like the skin. As a result, people turn away from them and therefore neglect them, scared that they too, who are clean as perceived, might not be infected.

However, Jesus does not reject people, especially those who are sick and disabled. He does not look into the physical features of a person but to his heart. This is clearly seen in the Gospel. Jesus healed the leper by just willing it. Jesus’ touch is an affirmation that the leper was blessed. Now the question is: “Did Jesus just will it?”

Yes, Jesus willed the leper to be healed. However, an ascent of faith from the leper was needed for him to be healed. Remember, the leper approached Jesus and expressed his desire to be made clean. Jesus might have known the need of the leper, but he respects the free will of the person before healing him. The leper was made clean through his cooperation in faith.

When we need something or desire something, do we ask the Lord for it? Or if we are already asking the Lord, do we listen to him if what we desire is also his desire? Or are we just insisting our wants most of the time? This Gospel is an invitation to us to look on ourselves, on our desires. Do we conform our thinking and feelings to the Lord who blesses us? How do we respond to his teaching through our hearts?

Prayer. This is our main line to God to know his will. When we are sensitive to God’s will, then we can always say, like the Psalmist: “See how the Lord blesses those who fear him!” When we experience God’s providence and blessings, our response is but to praise and glorify God. And we cannot hide our joyful disposition. It will surely be manifested to other people, and will certainly inspire others. Like the leper who announced immediately that he was healed, we too, as we are blessed, should do the same for the glory of God, in Jesus Christ who has been with us in all our days.

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