Faith in God’s Mercy

Luke 5:12-16
1 Jn 5: 5-13 / Ps 147

Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.
(Luke 5:12)

Grant us the wisdom, Lord Jesus,
By the Father’s Will to abide.
With Your healing Word release us
From the “leprosy” of our pride;

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Reflection

Jesus gave two instructions to the man healed of his leprosy: 1) “Don’t tell anyone,” and 2) “Show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
The first instruction (or command, actually) was because Jesus did not want the whole town flocking to see Him for his miraculous works. Although our Lord was compassionate to the sick and the possessed, He also needed time to preach about the kingdom of God to the people, and to shepherd His apostles in their mission. He also needed to “often withdraw to lonely places” to pray. Healing the sick was merely incidental to His real mission of winning the hearts and minds of the people with the lessons that He taught.

His second instruction was necessary because the man’s healing needed to be validated by a priest before he could be reintegrated back to his family and the community. Leprosy was considered God’s punishment for sins committed, and therefore the validation of a priest was like an act of absolution from God, much like going to confession for the absolution of our sins.

Leprosy was and still is the most humbling scourge of man. In its advanced stage, it makes a person look hideous, and leaves him totally without dignity. A stinking flea-laden dog is more tolerable to have around than a leprose man. And yet our Lord loved and healed the leprose man more than He tolerated the proud and self-righteous Pharisees. Why? Because of his faith. He believed that God’s power and compassion would heal him completely.

I do believe it, Lord. You can heal me of all my afflictions. But more than my physical healing, I desire to be made spiritually clean. Help me to be more forgiving of others’ faults and wrongdoing, and to be more compassionate to those with ailments and defects. Help me to be humble in my state of physical, mental and spiritual health. Free me from the pride of accomplishments, and forgive me for feeling so self-righteous just because You poured so much blessings in my life. I am sorry for being so ‘spiritually proud’, and if physical ailments come to humble me, then I accept them as Your healing for my soul. Amen.

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