Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
January 14th, 2010

Susan Tinley

School of Nursing
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer

Thursday in the First Week of Ordinary Time
1 Samuel 4:1-11
Psalm 44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25
Mark 1:40-45

In the gospel for today we read one of several stories about Jesus curing leprosy. In the time of Jesus, leprosy was considered a punishment from God for sins committed against Him.  Lepers were considered to be unclean and were shunned by the rest of the community; they were generally forced to live in exile, outside of the city walls.  If around others who were “clean” they were to announce their presence calling out “Unclean, unclean.”

With that as the social background of the time, I reflect on several qualities of this man who has leprosy such as his courage, humility, hope and trust yet a human who cannot keep a secret.  Can you imagine the courage and humility of this man with leprosy?!  He took the risk of  being scorned, or worse pelted with rocks for approaching Jesus and His companions.  How difficult can it be for us to risk the scorn and ridicule of others? I find this man’s courage to be emulated. This man with leprosy kneels and literally begs Jesus to grant his desire to be cured. How many of us would have the humility to beg for God’s cleansing grace in such a public way?  This man with leprosy approaches Jesus with total assurance that He will cure him.  That hope and trust in God’s healing is difficult to match.

The man with leprosy teaches us some beautiful lessons in his interaction with Jesus, but he is also very human. Jesus asks him not to tell anyone about the healing, but this is far too exciting to keep to himself.  The man cannot wait to tell everyone about the wonder worked on his behalf. We do not know if he brags about his healing assuming some self-importance in the process or if he is just so eager to share the exciting good news. Have you ever been asked to keep a secret that is so exciting, you can literally feel the itch to tell someone? Can you picture this: after receiving God’s healing grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, walking out of the Church and excitedly telling everyone you see that God has forgiven your sins? 

This simple account of the man with leprosy that we have heard so many times, is not so simple as it seems.  It can take us in many different directions that all lead us back to the unconditional love of our God.

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