A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, "If you choose, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I do choose. Be made clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
Today is Thursday 17 January, in the First Week of Ordinary Time.
A group of Jesuits from Colombia sing the prayer of Saint Ignatius, the prayer he says you should always begin with, putting yourself wholly at God’s disposal, asking God for the grace to be completely open to him: ‘Grant, Lord, that all my intentions, actions and operations be directed purely to your praise and your service.’
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Mark.
Jesus reached out to the man. The man believed in Jesus and knew he could heal him. There are many such stories in the Bible that we know well. Jesus was good at healing people. But would you heal this man? Knowing that all these people would come after you and you wouldn’t get a minute’s peace. Would you really heal him?
The scripture says that Jesus felt sorry for the man. But he did more than empathise and feel his pain. He did something about it. He acted. Despite the problems and hassle it was going to cause him, he did something about it.
Turning our feelings into practical action is one expression of solidarity. Jesus was good at finding ways to be with and support people and was a living expression of solidarity. He said yes, despite the pain and trouble. He became human, lived and died for us – there can be no greater sign of solidarity.
As you listen again, put yourself in the position of Jesus. How does this feel?
Can you ask God to help you say “yes” today. Yes to you God, yes to those around us that we might live more in solidarity with others.