To be willing indicates the action of someone eager and ready to do something. Jesus wills to make us clean always. He already disposes of his mind to purify us again. 2 Peter 3:9 says that it is never the will of God that the souls of His beloved Children should perish.
The encounter today between Jesus and the man with the virulent skin disease shows the true personality of Jesus who is willing to show love and will to save above mere keeping of the law.
He wills that we become clean always. He wills that we come to Him always for our sanctification. The problem is that we are very busy even to have a one minute encounter with the Lord.
Leprosy in the Jewish Culture.
In the first reading, we see how the Jews treat people who are suffering from leprosy. God tells Moses and Aaron in the first reading how the community is to deal with someone who contracts this disease.
The Jewish community regards this dreaded disease as the coronavirus pandemic of our time. They isolate the patient from the public, ban him from public appearance and any contact with people in the community.
God says that they have to consider the leper as unclean and then cut him off, from the life of the community.
Once the priest declares him unclean, the law requires the leper to dress unkept and shout everywhere he goes “unclean, unclean”. Hence the leper is then like someone who is abandoned, neglected and treated as a nobody.
When We also suffer Leprosy.
Some things also render us unclean before God and before man. There are times we remember our mistakes and what we did in the pasts and it looks as if the best thing is to commit suicide.
Our mistakes, total neglect of God and sinful lives like leprosy have damaged our relationship with God and makes us unclean before Him.
Today the world is filled with immorality, corruption, arrogance, selfishness, intimidation from the government, wickedness and hatred.
These have constantly damaged our spiritual lives and render us unclean and limit us from working properly. Today, just as the lepers extricate himself from public appearance, we do neglect God, and extricate ourselves from His presence. We choose to live away from His presence.
The lesson here is the extrication from the public appearance of the lepers at the time of Jesus shows that there is something wrong. When we begin to find ourselves away from God then we know that something is going wrong.
There are also times when we remember our pasts and mistakes and we try to hide from people. There are moments people do neglect you because of your present condition and this begins to eat deep into your bone marrow.
Many today are abandoned and neglected by their families, kinsmen and people living around them. In all these, there is someone who wills to make you clean again.
The Leper Teaches Us What To do.
The leper who meets Jesus today teaches us what to do when we find ourselves disfigured by sin, damaged by our mistakes and often neglected. And these are the lessons:
A.The leper knows the law and knows the laws does not allow him to come out of the public and yet because He was hungry to become clean again, he breaks the protocols and never wondered whatever people would do to Him.
In him, we see someone who makes strong decision to make himself well. If we want to make ourselves clean we have to make the personal decision. We have to make a sincere decision to come out of that secret sinful life. We have to decide to stop thinking bad of ourselves and never to pay attention to what people say or do. Like the leper, there should be this inner hunger in us to make ourselves well again.
We have to decide to look for Jesus on our own. How many years now have we stayed away from God? All these years we have been hearing preaching upon preaching. Until we make a personal decision to come out of that self prison, we will continue to be where we are.
B. The leper came out of his isolation and began to look for the Lord. If we want to be made clean, we have to decide to truly come out of that sinful life. We have to truly come out of that addiction, self-defeating lives and wickedness.
The number one is the decision and this second one is the action. Whatever you have decided to, then we have to put it into action. We should not continue to stay and wallow in sin and extricate ourselves from God and only wish that one day we have to come back to God. We have to act now. If you want to be successful in life, you have to come out of your comfort zone.
C. The leper who broke the protocol never minded what the people would say or whether Jesus would say no to Him. He supposed to have known that Jesus is also a jew and would not have spoken to Him and not to talk of touching him.
But instead of concluding beforehand what would have happened to Him, he simply proceeded into action.
There are many times we often make this mistake of thinking that God has already abandoned us. There are moments we feel, He would not be able to forgive us again maybe because of what happened in the past.
The leper today is teaching us that when it comes to our relationship with God, He is always willing to make us well. Do not conclude your world yet.
4. When the leper met Jesus, he said to Jesus “if you are willing, you can make me clean. His prayer was very simple. He does not pressure Jesus to heal Him. He simply presents Himself to Jesus with a great attitude of humility and faith.
His prayers are simple, presented in humility, asked according to God’s will, in the Lord’s presence, and with an attitude of faith. This leper simply teaches us how to turn to God in prayer. But many times we go to God with a mind that is already defeated and full of fear.
Many conclude beforehand that God is heart hardened and it takes time for Him to hear. While some would conclude that God has not been fair to them or that He would not forgive them any longer. This leper simply teaches us how to turn to God in prayer especially if we decide to be made well again.
5. The leper heard about Jesus and began to seek His presence. Who knows how long he has been seeking to see Jesus. He was isolated from the public, so presumably, he has been secretly keeping an eye on where Jesus used to come so that He can immediately see Him without incurring the wrath of the public.
The question for us today, is “can what we hear about Jesus bring us close to Him? Can the things we hear about Jesus make us sincerely seek His presence?
In his presence, the crowd was fed (Mark 8:1-10), In the presence of Jesus, the crucified thief and the woman caught in adultery received forgiveness and today in His presence, the leper received healing. We also need His presence to be made well again.
The Willing Jesus.
The encounter today also reveals what we can encounter when we decide to seek the Lord. The leper’s request to Jesus gave Him the choice to say yes or no. Of course, Jesus would never say no to anyone willing to come to Him.
Jesus is always ready to save, purify and make us clean. The decision is then ours to make. When we meet Jesus, these are surely what we can encounter:
1.Someone ready to forgive us. When the leper requested that He be made well again. The gospel says that Jesus was moved with pity.
In the feeding of the crowd, Jesus was moved with pity (Matthew 15;32), when he met the widow of Nain who lost her only son, He was moved with pity for her (Luke 7:13), when he saw the crowd who are like sheep without a shepherd he felt compassion for them( Matthew 9:36), before healing the blind, he had compassion on them (Matthew 20:36) etc.
The mercy of God is boundless. His compassionate heart always comes before his healing and miraculous power. Many who seek His merciful heart were never abandoned (Luke 23;42, Luke 18:36).
2. He is always willing to save. The law required that no one should have contact with a leper and not to talk of touching Him. Jesus breaks this protocol. But instead of the leper to contaminate Jesus , Jesus rather purifies the sickness.
So instead of the influence to flow from the leper to Jesus to contaminate Him, it flows from Jesus to the leper. Hence, this shows His superiority over every human condition whatsoever.
3. In His presence, we experience His love and divine touch. Jesus would have healed him from afar as he did for the Canaanite woman ( Mathew 15:21-28) or say a word as He did for the centurion servant (Mathew 8:5-13) but today, He did not only allow the leper to His presence, He spoke with him and went far to touch Him, a sign that He placed love above the Jewish rituals and ceremonial laws.
When we come to Jesus, we encounter a heart who is willing to love us despite however we are.
1. In this reading today, we see Jesus placing human condition over the law. His encounter with the leper teaches us the need to be attentive to human conditions. There are many today who are sick. There are many today, we abandon to suffer and are neglected.
Many of these people are living around us. Some of them come to us for help, advice and encouragement. How many people have we treated as if they are like trash maybe because God has elevated you?
In the second reading, Paul asks His hearers to accommodate everybody in whatever they do without discrimination. Today we tend to discriminate against people because we see them as nothing. Jesus continues to teach us to accommodate everyone and pay listening ear to human conditions around us.
2. When people come to us for our help and advice What do we do with them?
Jesus was willing to save the leper. Are we willing to save or to destroy? St.Paul warns in the second reading not to take people’s plight as an advantage.
When people come to your office looking for a job application, what do we offer them as a bargain? When someone comes to you for help, do you take advantage of his/her poor condition or do you truly want to help? Many today have become slaves because they come to us seeking help.
Let everything we do be for the glory of God and the willingness to save people and not for sordid gain or our advantage.
3. As Jesus saved the leper, let us be a source of salvation and upliftment for the people who come to us. So, today, do not celebrate your valentine day in sinful living. Take time and visit the sick, the homeless, the orphans, motherless babies home etc. You will receive a reward from God rather than desecrating your body.
4. How many years have we extricate ourselves from the presence of God? Sin continues to damage our relationship with God and we pay deaf ears to it. When we do remember God is always when things go against us or at the death bed.
Therefore, like the leper today, let us decide to clean up our pasts, mistakes, and sinful living. We are gradually moving towards the Lenten period, can we decide to come back to God or to remain where we are? God is love. Just that we have decided not to come to Him.
4. Jesus is willing. Therefore, He is ever ready for us anytime and any day. Jesus is waiting for you. He wants us to experience His merciful heart again. Jesus wills to make us clean if we come to Him, Jesus wills to make us clean if we can humble ourselves and ask for it, Jesus wills to make us clean if we trust that He can. The question is “are we willing to respond positively?
5. Despite whatever we have done in the past, despite the mistakes of the past, beating ourselves up and dying in worry can never solve any single solution. Like Jesus tells the leper to seek for a priest, go to your priest and spiritual director and confess your sins.
6. Despite Jesus warning the leper not to tell people about Him, he disobeyed. The truth is that Jesus does not want to gain the reputation of only a miracle worker and a healer. He goes about teaching people the word. He wants people to draw to Him by what they hear and not merely by what He does.
When we hear about Jesus, do we only go to Him because of miracles, signs and wonders or because of the love we have for Him? Relationship with the Lord is better than signs and wonders spirituality.
May God help us to draw close to Jesus. May He also sanctify us and make us clean. Happy Sunday