Daily Reflection – 1/11/19
It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where he 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.( Luke 5:12-16)
There’s another aspect to this love story contained in Luke’s Gospel. God loves us so much that He forgives our sins when we ask for His mercy. In Luke, leprosy represents a physical example of the invisible reality of sin – the incurable disease that affects us all. Jesus saves us from sin. No matter how bad they are, God loves us so much that He sent His only son to save us from these sins. And when we ask for forgiveness, God grants it. Like the leper who begged for Jesus to cleanse him, so can we ask for forgiveness.
Jesus reached out and touched the leper – a person whom others were not even supposed to get close to, much less touch. But Jesus, who is completely clean and pure, reached out and cleansed his leprosy. Jesus can do the same to us: He can forgive our sins and cleanse us if we ask for His forgiveness. Luke also says that the leper fell on his face when he saw Jesus. This is showing that we must all come down from our pride and self-righteousness all the way to the feet of Christ to be forgiven and cleansed. I am a sinner. I continuously fall, but God never ceases to forgive me and lift me back up. God shows His immense love by giving me mercy every time I come down from my pride and my sins to fall at His feet. And this is one of the most beautiful things – God never stops forgiving and He never stops loving. As St. Augustine said, “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” Jesus reached out and cleansed the leper even though there were hundreds of others. We are the leper. We can all ask for forgiveness and be cleaned. We must never forget the love and mercy that He shows.
We are called to reflect on God’s immense love for us and the eternal life that He has given to us if we believe and trust in Him. And we are called to be like the leper: to let go of our pride and ask for God’s unending mercy.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, I see your hand moving from the leper to my soul, showing its power to transform. No sin should ever break my fighting spirit; no longtime defect should ever weaken my hope in your love of me. Your hand moves and all is cured, forgiven, and redeemed. Today I anchor my program of holiness with confidence in your grace and unconditional love.
Some eleven centuries later, another man, named Francis, met a leper on the road as he journeyed towards Assisi. “Though the leper caused him no small disgust and horror, he nonetheless, got off the horse and prepared to kiss the leper. But when the leper put out his hand as though to receive something, he received money along with a kiss” Francis did what seemed humanly impossible because he was filled with the love and compassion of Christ. The Holy Spirit inflames our hearts with the love of Christ that we may reach out to others with compassionate care, especially to those who have been rejected and mistreated. The love of God impels us to do as Jesus did – to love the unlovable, to touch the untouchable, and to forgive the unforgivable.