The desire of Jesus to make clean the leper in the Gospel of Luke reveals the Lord’s desire to cleanse each one of us: body, mind, heart and soul.
Tag Archives: Leprosy
Study: Reflect on a time when you experienced healing. Who helped you?
Pray: Pray for the sick, especially those that you know.
Serve: How can you help be an agent of healing today? What circumstances or situations can you address to (re)connect others?
Both Elisha and Jesus heal lepers in the 1st Reading & Gospel today. Take a moment to note these points about the encounter between Jesus and the 10 lepers in the Gospel of Luke:
- They are not Jewish, but Samaritans
- Leprosy kept them isolated from other people
- After their healing only one returns to say thanks
- Their physical healing allows them to draw near to others again
Leprosy was (and still is) a horrible disease. Not only did it cause physical hardship as the body wasted away, but it separated lepers from loved ones in order to prevent them from catching the same sickness.
The encounter with Jesus changes this. The Lord not only restores their physical health, but at the same time he also returns them to their families and friends. They have their lives restored in body, heart and soul.
The sense of gratitude expressed by the leper who thanks Jesus touches two key points: First, he expresses gratitude for what God has done. Second, he is able to touch Jesus – something that he couldn’t do before because of the disease. This sense of thankfulness and connection reveals what can happen when we open our hearts to the Lord.
So where do you need healing in your life today? May we call upon the Lord with grateful hearts, as we seek healing…body & soul.
Note: This post was first published on October 4, 2016.
Study: Reflect on wounded relationships in your life. What needs to be done to bring them healing?
Pray: Ask the Lord for the grace to bring healing to the relationships in your life, especially where suffering has caused misunderstanding or fear has led to doubt and uncertainty.
Serve: Are there people in your life that are struggling in their relationships? How can you be a bridge that fosters unity and reconciliation?
Last week I focused on the personal nature of suffering. When we are in pain, when we hurt, we can easily focus on ourselves. This is not necessarily a bad thing; suffering can help us confront reality and strive for healing and wholeness. In our suffering we are aware of blessings that we may have taken for granted – our sight can become sharper as we realize the gifts that have been lavished upon us.
There is another dimension of suffering, however. Suffering commonly affects relationships; when one person suffers, it is often the case that others suffer as well. Consider the following:
- Physical suffering can keep us from human touch/contact
- Intellectual distress can cause us to lash out in doubt and misunderstanding
- Emotional anguish can prevent us from connecting with others because of fear and anger
- Spiritual suffering can obscure our values and beliefs with God and others
There are countless examples, but the point is clear – the pain and anguish a person suffers can directly affect relationships with God and one another. Suffering can become an obstacle that blocks us from the very persons who can bring healing and relief. Often the greatest wound from suffering is isolation: in our weakness we withdraw from the very people who can help us the most.
The 1st Reading, Responsorial Psalm, and Gospel today reveal both the obstacles of suffering and the bridges that God makes possible through healing grace. In the face of suffering the Lord comes, not just to bring healing to a person, but healing to the relationships among persons. God longs not only to renew our lives but the lives around us as well. Where suffering brings isolation the Lord brings unity – drawing us together in reconciliation and love.
This communal aspect of suffering thus begs two questions for our consideration:
- Is suffering affecting relationships in my life right now?
- How can I invite the Lord to bring healing/reconciliation?
When the Jesus healed the leper in the Gospel today, he did more than give the man back his health – he gave back his relationships as well. The man (formerly cut off from human society) is now restored to his family, his friendships, and his participation in the community. His life has been restored.
As we look to our own encounters with suffering we keep an eye to the ways in which our relationships are harmed/healed. May we call upon the grace of Christ to touch our lives, and bless the lives of those around us.
Note: This post was originally published on February 9, 2015.
While on vacation visiting family in Indiana, Fr. Andrew has a conversation with his niece about how Jesus heals a leper in the Gospel today.