Thursday, February 12, 2009
Preparing for Sunday
The Gospel for this Sunday is Mark 1:40-45 and is one I have always loved for it shows how compassionate Jesus is. It is a short Gospel but has several points:
a)"A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, 'If you wish, you can make me clean.'"
At that time there were many lepers and they had to keep a distance and even call out "unclean" if someone were to approach them. This leper knows that if he can just kneel before Jesus, Jesus will want to heal him. His faith makes him brave; he cries out, "If you wish, you can make me clean."
b) "Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, "I do will it. Be made clean."
Jesus immediately is moved; his heart is full of compassion and he actually reaches out to the leper and touched him! He does want to cure that leper kneeling before him and says to him, "I do will it. Be made clean." He touches him and what must this touch have been for that leper who has been shunned and declared an untouchable!
c)"Then Jesus dismissed him at once and told 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 so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
I suspect that the leper was so full of joy and overflowing gratitude that he could not keep quiet. He wanted others to know what Jesus had done for him. He had to sing his praises as his heart was overflowing. How often am I compelled to praise the Lord for the many miracles of each day?
d)He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere."
Jesus seems to have loved the deserted places. He needed to have some time for prayer, but the people kept coming to him from everywhere. And he had pity on them for, as he tells us in another part of Mark's Gospel, "they are sheep without a shepherd." Jesus is the Good Shepherd and he tends his flock wherever they are. They "kept coming to him" - this is what I must do. Jesus will always receive us, always listen to us, always reach out and touch us when we ask him to make us clean!