Today’s Thoughts: At times when I hear or read certain Gospel stories I think wouldn’t it be great if Jesus could do that today! In today’s story (Matt 8:1-4) Jesus encounters a leper. Leprosy in Jesus’ time made people outcasts. They were disconnected from the community. They had to keep their distance. They were relegated to living in community with only other lepers. They were not to touch or be touched by others. They were seen as unclean.
However, the leper in the Gospel story has the courage to approach Jesus and for that courage he is rewarded with a healing. He is made clean so that he can live once again within the community. Jesus heals by touching, by crossing the boundary of culture, society and religion. Jesus deals with the person as a human being created in the image and likeness of God.
I guess my point is that in our day there are many people who probably feel like the lepers of Jesus’ time. People who are looked upon as unclean, who are looked upon as not part of the community. People who are looked upon by culture, society and especially religious institution as misfits, who are often excluded. Wouldn’t it be great if Jesus were here today and like that day long ago as he came down from the mountain he would stop and talk with them, touch them, perhaps embracement and make them feel like a person again accepted, loved not feared.
Making someone clean has many connotations some positive, some negative. Making someone clean presumes that they are unclean. Was the leper of Jesus’ day really unclean? Are people in our time really unclean? Asking Jesus to make those that culture, society and religious institutions often consider as unclean, clean, might not mean curing them of some disease or condition, it might simply mean clearing the way, stepping across the boundary and changing the attitudes that will allow them to feel accepted, to feel they belong.
“Lord if you wish, you can make us clean.” Stretch out your hand today and will it!
Have a blessed, holy, safe, and healthy Friday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...