Once, when he was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean." Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, "I do choose. Be made clean." Immediately the leprosy left him. And he ordered him to tell no one. "Go," he said, "and show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, for a testimony to them." But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.
Today is Thursday 9 January, in the season of Christmas.
Karen Money sings Echo: Let me stay a little longer, so I breathe in more of You. As I listen, I focus for a moment on my breathing, on the breath that is within me, the life that is within me, the breath – the life – that God has given me.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Luke.
Try to look at the man with leprosy. This man is considered to be beyond all accepted boundaries, yet he dares to come among those who are considered clean. Without hesitation, he begs Jesus for healing. “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” The man is beyond caring. He is desperate. What do they say to each other? What happens?
The leper focuses on his own uncleanness, on what keeps him away from the life and worship of the community. In what ways am I like the leper longing to be made clean, longing to be accepted, to be whole once more? Can I sense, Jesus reaching out to touch me?
As I hear the reading again, can I let myself be touched by this poor, broken person, in desperation at the feet of Jesus?
Jesus’ reaction is generous: he does not harangue the leper or tell him that his sickness is from God and should be accepted. Instead Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do choose. Be made clean.” Imagine Jesus saying these words to you, can you accept this invitation to be made clean, can you let Jesus touch you and be open to his boundless generosity?