JAN 8. CHRISTMAS SEASON. LK. 5. 12-16
Updated: Jul 24
Jesus was in one of the towns when a man appeared, covered with leprosy. Seeing Jesus he fell on his face and implored him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘if you want to, you can cure me.’ Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said, ‘Of course I want to! Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once. He ordered him to tell no one, ‘But go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering for your healing as Moses prescribed it, as evidence for them.’
His reputation continued to grow, and large crowds would gather to hear him and to have their sickness cured, but he would always go off to some place where he could be alone and pray.
This reading focuses primarily on the necessity of Faith for the Christian, and how important it is that we do not trust in ourselves, in our wisdom, or in our ability, but rather that we place our trust in our creator, no matter the God- given circumstances of our life!
The ‘man’ in this scripture reading had been given the burden and trials of leprosy but this did not prevent him from having Faith in God’s wisdom and merciful Love! Rather as a result of his circumstances his Faith was increased.
“Seeing Jesus he fell on his face and implored him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘if you want to, you can cure me.’” There is no word of complaint here; - he did not say ‘Look how much I have to suffer’; - but rather he simply said, by his actions, “I believe!”
This is a central message of the birth of Christ; - namely, we should believe in God, and in his wisdom and love, no matter the circumstances of our lives, as this is not only what Christ taught; - but more importantly; - it is what he lived and bore witness to, especially as he hung on the Cross on Calvary!
The Cross and suffering are at the very heart of our Christian vocation, but no Christian has been asked to endure more suffering than The Lamb of God, whose life was sacrificed for our sins. Look at Mary, the Mother of God; - look at St. Joseph; - look at any of the Saints; and all of them, without exception have had to endure suffering and the Cross!
The man in today’s reading had to endure leprosy, but the Cross each of us has to carry is a decision made by our Creator, so it is not one for us to make! What we have to do is to imitate Christ and this leper who both trusted in the Wisdom and Love of God, and kept their Faith despite their sufferings.
This is not an easy thing to do and one of the characteristics common to all Committed Christians is they do not trust in their own strength, but they turn, on a regular basis to God in prayer, trusting in his Grace rather than in their own strength or ability.
In this reading we see one of the many examples in the Gospels where Christ himself turned to prayer, rather than trusting in human strength: - “large crowds would gather to hear him and to have their sickness cured, but he would always go off to some place where he could be alone and pray!”
We can also be sure that the leper who Christ cured in today’s reading spent much time in prayer as his Faith remained strong, despite many years enduring his own Cross and suffering.
Gospel Acclamation Matthew 4:23
Jesus preached the Good News of the kingdom
and healed all who were sick.