Friday 26 June

Today is Friday the 26 June, in the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time.

Bifrost Arts sing, ‘O God, Will You Restore Us?’ As you listen, become aware of anything in your life that needs restoration today… lay it before God as you begin to pray…                                       

Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 8:1-4

When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean."  He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I do choose. Be made clean!" Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  Then Jesus said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

The leper in this story was cast out.  He had to live well away from other people, cut off from the rest of humanity.  He lived in a separate world of the lost and forgotten.  Can you imagine what his life was like?  - not just his physical pain, but also the pain of being outcast, and the pain of loneliness?

Then Jesus comes along.  It’s actually one of the most amazing sentences in the Gospels. It tells us, simply, “Jesus stretched out his hand and touched the leper.”  Can you imagine what that was like?

Living with leprosy is a very long way from the experience of most of us.  But there may be other ways in which I have felt an outcast, cut off, isolated, in pain… or maybe I have cut others off.  As I listen again to the reading, I notice if there any echoes of this situation in my life.

Those words, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean”….  Can I make those words my prayer today?   And can I sense the Lord saying back to me, “I do choose. Be made clean!”, and stretching out his hand, and touching me?