The way the lepers were treated in today’s first reading sounds exaggerated to us today, however, every society tries to protect itself and one way is to keep away the people that are a threat or danger to others because of health or behavior. The theory is, ‘if you can’t cure it, at least separate that person so they won’t pass the illness to others’. In light of this, we have prisons and hospitals. This approach has been working well for centuries.
But what happens when a cure is possible?
Jesus is going to change our way of measuring problems and teach us that laws have qualified power. Today’s gospel is showing us this. The law of the old covenant said clearly what steps to take in the eyes of an incurable illness, but it didn’t say what we should do when an illness is defeated, a problem fixed, or a bad situation defeated by Jesus’ power to do good.
Jesus didn’t disregard the law; He commanded the leper to go to the priest as the law prescribed. But a greater good is starting. This gospel shows Jesus in a very specific event, ‘a victory of the good’ that was not contemplated in the old law, because our laws are guided by the limits of human thinking. Laws are in a sense a canonization of what exists, without trust in the good that could happen. Faith on the other hand can see the sky above obstacles; it can create languages and ways of communication where words are not enough.
Faith is a whole new world; it is not limited by a specific healing, no matter how spectacular that healing could be. Jesus wants us to see beyond our own healing. He wanted the leper and us to see beyond the miracle in order to find the world of the abundant grace of God.
Jesus continues inviting us to learn and live the new laws of an existence lived in total obedience to the plan of God. He is going to walk before us and His hands and eyes are going to teach us this new way of living, new way of loving, serving…. to succeed always with Him.
Lord, thank you for this time together. I need you in my life and the life of my family. It is easy to let activities overwhelm me so that I lose track of you. You fade into the distance, and sometimes sin grows closer. But I know you are always there for me with your unconditional love. Thank you. I love you and long to put you first in my life.
Lord, wash me from my sins and help me to be detached from them.
I want to be free, but I need your help. Without you, I can do nothing. Help me to trust you and to turn to you. Don’t let me go off on my own as if I could keep fighting without you. Free me to love you. Free me to love others.