Today’s Thoughts: My thoughts today are similar to those I shared with you last Friday when we had the same Gospel story about Jesus’ encounter with a person with leprosy. Last week we had Luke’s version of the story and today we have Mark’s (Mark 1: 40-45). In each version Jesus encounters a person with leprosy and the following exchange takes place. "If you wish, you can make me clean. Jesus was moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched the leper and said to him, I do will it. Be made clean. And the leprosy left him immediately."
I think the key elements of this story are Jesus’ intense feelings, the person's faith in Jesus and the willingness of Jesus to heal and to touch. Maybe the most important elements are Jesus’ feelings and his touch, his willingness to be connected with someone who is unclean by the standards of culture, society and religion.
As the story unfolds Jesus is moved with pity. Now sometimes we think of pity in a negative way but in our story today this translation “moved with pity” does not really do Jesus’ feelings justice. Jesus feels compassion for this person down deep in his gut and it moves him to action. It moves him to do something beyond what most people would do. It moves Jesus to touch the person even though his is unclean in order to share God’s mercy.
Today whether we are talking about our culture, society or even our church the usual response is to disconnect ourselves from someone defined as unclean. Yet, Jesus sought to be connected. He did not want to push them away from the community but to bring them into the community.
Jesus reaches out to one who has been pushed out of the community. It is a profound moment; it is a challenge to all of us who proclaim we believe. Do we wish – do we will – that all belong to the community no matter what? Jesus does and he was willing to step across a boundary to make sure that it happens. Are we?
Perhaps it is a commitment to prayer that will help us to, wish it and will it. It is through prayer, our conversation with God, that we will find the strength to walk with Jesus across the boundaries imposed and bring others to the community, to friendship with God!
Give a little time to God today – say a prayer – talk with God. Have a great Thursday 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...