Leprosy and Sin


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 do will it,” He said. “Be made 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. (Luke 5:12-16)

Reflection

Jesus stretched out His hand, touched the leper, and healed him– a spontaneous reaction of our Lord to the desperate man’s expression of humility (falling face to the ground) and total faith. Faith in God’s power and compassion heals us totally – not only of our physical ailments, but more importantly of our pride, selfishness, greed, and other disease of the soul.

The state of leprosy is very much the same as the state of mortal sin. They are both scourges of man, the former on his flesh, the latter on his soul. In its advanced stage, leprosy makes a person look hideous, leaving him totally without dignity. A person’s soul corrupted by sin is no less grotesque in the eyes of God. The leper is a “dead man walking,” because he can no longer associate with friends and loved ones, and is treated as a social outcast. An evil person shares the same fate; he cannot keep company with the just (Psa 1:5), and feels out of place in a Christian assembly. Like a leper, a man afflicted with mortal sin loses the care of others for him just as he has also lost his sense of feeling for those around him. There are many people today who are afflicted with this “leprosy of the soul”, and their lot is far worse than the lepers in Jesus’ day. They may have become desensitized by their wealth, power or influence in their community or organization. They are no longer sensitive to the needs of others or to the injustices happening in their midst, even though they are in the position to address them (like some politicians we know). Their sense of pride and self-importance have so deadened their spiritual nerves to the point that the Holy Spirit can no longer heal the decaying condition of their souls.

And yet Jesus loved and healed the humble lepers more than He tolerated the proud and self-righteous Pharisees. Their spiritual leprosy was incurable because of their lack of humility and faith. It is only our Lord Jesus who can heal us of spiritual leprosy and all our afflictions. But like that leper, we must seek out Jesus if we desire to be made spiritually clean. We must ask for His help to become more considerate to the poor and disadvantaged, to be forgiving of others’ faults and wrongdoings, and to be more compassionate to those with ailments and defects.

Lord Jesus, 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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