Friday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Rejuvenating the faith
When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” His leprosy was cleansed immediately. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” Mt 8,1-4
It was written in the Jewish law: “The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent and his head bare, and shall muffle his beard; he shall cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’ As long as the sore is on him he shall declare himself unclean, since he is in fact unclean. He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp” (Lv 13,45-46). Jesus becomes indignant over this rule, which does not reflect the spirit of the Kingdom of Heaven, and, against the prescription of the law, he touches the leper and heals him. So, that man, who was unclean and excluded from society, becomes pure and is sent to the priests so “that will be proof for them”. Healing a leper, in fact, had to be officially recognized by the priests so that he could be readmitted to the civil and religious community. With Jesus, the situation is reversed: the Church cannot keep away those who are affected by the leprosy of sin. It is, and it will always be, a mixture of good grain and weeds, holiness and sin. Sometimes, though, it happens that not only sinners, but also new converts are treated with indifference and suspicion. I remember a lady who, some years ago, had gone to Medjugorje mostly out of curiosity and then came back with faith. While telling the wonders which she had experienced, she added, with a sad tone, that his conversion was seen with a certain coldness in her parish and it had not generated all the excitement she felt herself. It is a scandal cooling down the new believers’ faith in the gospel with freezing attitudes. Give us, Lord, the grace to share the joy of those who were touched by the Lord, so that, before this evidence, we can rejuvenate our own faith.