Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Please note: the view of the above alone.
Internet can be a blessing if properly used. Wrongly used, it can cause terrible damage. Seeking information in the past, meant going to a library for books and articles. Now, at a click of a mouse, what I’m looking for is there before me. [‘Aidan Troy’ in a search engine got 488,000 references in 0,60 seconds!).
A danger is that I presume that all life is like a computer search. The exchange between the brave leper and Jesus, reveals a beautiful sensitivity in searching for health. There are no presumptions made by this man on his desperate search for healing. Let’s listen:
Leper (on his knees pleads): ‘If you want to you can cure me.’
Jesus (feeling sorry for him stretches out his hand): ‘Of course I want to! BE CURED!’
What music this must have been for the Leper now cleansed and back to health. That is good enough, but even better he can now go home. He can talk, eat, socialise with others. We don’t know how long he was ‘ex-communicated’ because of the danger of contagion. He is now back, and life is good.
Sin has been described as ‘leprosy of the soul’. All sin is social in its effects. Even if you know nothing of my sins, I am failing you by my sins in refusing the power of God’s grace. When I‘m less holy than God has called me to be, I enter into the isolation of the ‘leper’ in the Gospel. There is a distance between us.
Seeing the damage that my sins cause, I can either harden my heart, or take the path of the ‘leper’ and with humility and courtesy come to Jesus. On my knees, I can plead, ‘If you want to you can cure me.’ There will always come the same response from Jesus, ‘Of course, I want to! Be cured!’ That is the moment in which I cease to fail you and the community of believers. Imagine the joy that there is in Heaven over this sinner doing penance than over 99 who do not. We are called to be a holy people of God.
When the leper was healed, he had to fulfil the law and go to the priest for a clean bill of health. Jesus ‘sternly ordered’ him to ‘say nothing to anyone.’ Well, the cured Leper did the opposite – and who could blame him as he made his way home. Perhaps, going home to his wife, children, job, friends. Who knows? Jesus was concerned that His mission might be seen as simply a spectacular display of bodily healing. But, Jesus came to bring us the good news of salvation of soul as well as body. Jesus saves the whole person.
Jesus came as healer but most of all as Saviour. He addresses the ‘leprosy of the soul.’ Because sin cannot easily be seen by the human eye, it can happen that it seems less ‘real’. I could not imagine myself wearing ‘clothing torn, and hair disordered…shield the upper lip and cry, “Unclean, unclean”. [1st Reading] Yet, soon we will begin Lent when the call to sackcloth and ashes will be heard again. Sin, like leprosy, is contagious.
Once the Leper had proclaimed Jesus as healer, Jesus ‘could no longer go openly into any town, but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived.’ Jesus ends up living in places where the leper once had to stay. The difference was that, ‘even so, people from all around would come to him.’
As Lent begins, we can search for Jesus and finding Him ask, ‘If you want to, you can cure me.’ He will. It will be your best gift this Lent.