Monday 2 November 2015

Thursday of 1st Week Jeudi de la 1e semaine

“A leper came to Jesus, beging him, saying ’If you wish, you can make me clean.’ Jesus was moved with compassion and said ’Stretch out your hand, touched him and said ’I do wish this, be cleansed.’”

He.3,7-14 Ps.94 Mk.1, 40-45

Thursday of 1st Week, OT, uneven numbered year

“A man who was a leper came to Jesus, and pleaded on his knees, saying ’If you are wiling, you can cleanse me.’ Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, ’I am willing, be cleansed.” And at once he was healed.“The leper came to Jesus as though it was the only chance left for him : he goes on his knees, begging, he wants to recover his health, he wants to find a new meaning in life and take up his place again in the community. In fact, as he was impure, untouchable, he was considered as having been struck down by a punishment from God and he is put with the other lepers banned from society. He is not allowed to enter a town nor a village, he can just about beg at a door, and everyone has to keep far away from him. How well we can undersatnd the prostration of this leper in his misery, the distress of this man who hasn’t a name. He really is alienated. In his distress this man ’knows’ that Jesus can save him! How lovely are the realtionships Jesus provokes with the people he receieves. He truely is the Saviour of mankind. Seized with compassion, he is always manifesting God’s tenderness for his little fallen creature tempted by the devil. Jesus answers his request, stretching out his hand, he touches him! Afterwards he explained what he did ’I do, be made clean again.’ this is already a sign of the coming ’sacrements’. Much more than a word it is a gesture of Love enabling humanity to find its dignity once more.”And at once Jesus sent him sternly away and said to him, ’Mind you tell no one anything, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your cleansing prescribed by Moses as evidence to them."

Jesus has pity on the leper but wants to remain discreet and this healing to remain discreet, because his desire is to do God’s work without any glory being proclaimed, without any propoganda, like the Suffering Servant of Isaiah who doesn’t cry out on the public places. For the moment Jesus says to people who believe in Him : ’Be careful, don’t say anything..’ What is more important is the inner healing. However, this man, once he has been healed, is in great hurry to proclaim the news in such a way that Jesus can no go enter openly into the

town ; ’He stays outside, in desert places, and people come to him from everywhere.’ We are in God’s mystery that savs the world. When Jesus sends him away, healed,he finds his identity once more! Going to show himself to the priest, he finds a satute of freedom, he is re integrated into the community as a free man and he is also re-integrated into the religious community. Once again he finds a place in human society. It is later on, with the Passion and Ressurection of Jesus, that we understand how important are the sacrements and their Divine Action by which Jesus saves us today.

“The man went away, but started freely proclaimig and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but stayed outside in desert places.Even so , people from all around kept coming to him.”

What faith, what confidence in this leper’s calling out! And Jesus like shis spontaneity, his vehement desire, for he responded to him straight away. ’I want to, be purified.’ Jesus always wants, at each instant, to purify us. It is us who don’t really want this, we know what miseries there are in our heart, ones that don’t go away, and we say : ’ I’ll never be able to get cured!’ What makes us sorry for ourselves is the image we have of ourselves but Jesus asks us to let go of this image we have for ourselves and to only have before our eyes his own face. Jesus is the Saviour of the world. Salvation is acquired in the Paschal mystery. Raban Maur said : ’ Every thought that takes away any hope of conversion flows from a lack of faith : like a heavy stone attatched around our neck, it forces us to always look down wards at the ground, and doesn’t allow us to to raise our eyes up to the Lord. But the one who has a courageous heart and an enlightened mind knows how to take off from his neck this horrid weight.’ We should be like servants’ eyes looking to their master’s eyes, like the eyes of a servant maid looking at her mistress’ hands, our own eyes should be looking at the Lord Jesus until He takes pity on us.

We ask for the grace to dwell in the mystery of Jesus Saviour.