A leper came to Jesus begging him, and kneeling, 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 the 16 January, in the first week of Ordinary time.
The St Thomas Music Group sing the Kyrie by Margaret Rizza: Kyrie eleison; Christe eleison: Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy. These imploring words, which have been sung for centuries, are a reminder of the inexhaustible mercy of God, of God’s unfailing compassion and forgiveness. As I listen, I might think for a moment about my need for that forgiveness, and the need, too, for me to show that same forgiveness to others.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Mark.
Let this story play in your imagination. Imagine first this man, suffering from the disfiguring skin disease of leprosy. What is his life like? What are his emotions as he approaches Jesus and is healed?
Now imagine what Jesus is like in his scene. He is “moved with pity”. His heart goes out to the man. Imagine how he looks at this man, how he speaks to him, how he moves….
Hold these feelings and these images in your mind as your hear the scene described a second time.
Christians are called to develop a heart like Jesus’s – a heart that goes out to people who are suffering. In these last moments of the prayer today you might want to ask Christ to help you develop a heart like his, that feels compassion, that eagerly seeks to reach out and help.