Updated: Feb 11, 2021
Right at the beginning of the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus meets a person who has something very wrong with his skin. The person has a disease called leprosy that makes his skin red and sore. Leprosy is very contagious. We hear the word contagious a lot these days; it means that, if people get too close to the man, their skin will get red and sore, too. But the man comes close to Jesus to ask him something.
A leper came to Jesus begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.”
The man kneels in front of Jesus. Why does he do that? We kneel when we are at church, we kneel when we pray--we kneel when we know that we are with God. I wonder what the man knows about Jesus...
The man asks to be made clean. What does he mean? The man's leprosy is so contagious that he has to stay away from all other people. He has to live by himself outside of town, away from his family. If the leprosy was gone, if his skin was no longer red and sore, he could come close to people again. He has not had a hug in so very long.
Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him
Whoa! The very first thing that Jesus does is touch the man who has leprosy! Nobody touches people with this contagious disease. The man has been alone for so long, he probably cannot remember the last time someone touched him. How good Jesus' hand on him must feel!
“I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
Jesus does not like the man to be alone. Jesus heals him. The man's skin is no longer red and sore; he is no longer contagious. He can come close and be with his family again.
What do we know about Jesus now? We know that he does not like people to be sick and alone. We know that he comes close to people who are alone. Jesus touches them.
I wonder...does Jesus come close to us, too? If we are alone, and we kneel, will Jesus touch us? I wonder if our skin will know that Jesus is so close? I wonder if our hearts will know?