Today’s Gospel reveals something significant about Jesus. He is presented a man with leprosy perhaps the most feared disease of the time. This disease alienated and repulsed everyone and drove people to reject and disgust these poor human beings even in their agony.
Even though this leper who had no right to speak to Jesus without a certificate of cleanness, broke the law; Jesus does not drive him away. Jesus welcomes him by confronting his desperation with understanding and compassion. He stretches out his hand and touches him. Jesus breaks through the fear filled conventions of the time and touches the humanness of this individual to declare a universal truth about the dignity of the human person. Jesus did not see a man who was unclean, but rather a simple human soul in desperate need.
Jesus sets in motion the long-awaited Kingdom of God where love replaces hatred, compassion replaces apathy, and light replaces darkness. If a leper of our time were to approach us, would we reach out to them? Would we touch them? Would we bring them light or allow them to stay in the dark, do you think?
“Moved with pity, Jesus stretches out his hand and touches us and says: BE MADE CLEAN!”