If Jesus were a celebrity in our day, He might have won Barbara
Walters’ Most Fascinating Person Award of 31 A.D. for his
cures like the one in today’s Gospel. I can see him fleeing
the paparazzi just as he fled the crowds of his own time.
But what I reflect on today is not how Jesus handled his growing
celebrity, fascinating as that is to a journalist, but two other
aspects of today’s reading:
It’s a great lesson for anyone who constantly fields requests
for help from children, students, patients, customers, parents,
parishioners, administrators, etc.
As I write this, it is finals week, a period that tries the patience
of the saintliest professors. At times like this, it is good to
remember the courage that it takes people to seek assistance and
to recall the positive or negative impact of small encounters on
the supplicant. An impatient word at the wrong time can have lasting
consequences or vice versa.
As a teacher, it is humbling to occasionally hear from a former
student that some long forgotten kindness or piece of advice had
a lasting impact. When I examine my conscience, I wonder about the
contrary as well.
Although I hate the cliché “what would Jesus do?”
I’ll try to keep his encounter with the leper in mind when
one too many requests lands on my desk or in my email.