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6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 6-9): Jesus Chooses

 
 

In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus meets a person who has leprosy. This means he has an awful skin condition that is very contagious. If anyone gets too close, they will get leprosy, too. But the man with the contagious disease comes very close to Jesus.

A leper came to Jesus begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.”

What goes on here? People make those with leprosy leave their homes and live outside of town away from everyone else. If people with leprosy ever come anywhere near other people, they have to cover their mouths and cry out, "Unclean, unclean!" People fear that they will get leprosy, too, that they will be made unclean. But in the Gospel reading, we do not hear the man crying out, "Unclean, unclean!" Does he not fear that he will give Jesus his disease? Does he not fear that Jesus will be disgusted by him? He does not seem to worry about this at all. Why not? What does he know about Jesus?


The man kneels before Jesus. What does that mean? Before whom do we kneel? The man knows something about who Jesus is. And then he says, "If you choose..." The man knows that if Jesus' chooses, it will be done. The man means, "If it is your will." He means, "Your will be done."

And what does Jesus do?

Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

Jesus chooses to touch him. Jesus cannot be made unclean by him.

Jesus chooses to make the man clean. Immediately.

Jesus chooses him.


It is his will that the man be made clean. And so, the man is clean.


What do we not see?

We do not see Jesus wrinkle his nose and say, "Ew."

We do not see Jesus back away.

We do not see Jesus hesitate and think it over.


We see Jesus choose, right away, to touch the man. The man can do nothing to make Jesus unclean.


We see Jesus choose, right away, to make the man clean. The man can do nothing to make Jesus not want to bring him back home.


This is the way of Jesus, is it not? Over and over we hear in the Gospels about unclean people—usually sinners—who come near to Jesus. Jesus is never disgusted—not by leprosy, not by sinners. Jesus never backs away. Jesus never hesitates, because they can do nothing to make Jesus unclean, they can do nothing to make Jesus not want to bring them back home.


Jesus shows us the way of God.

Can we ever do anything so unclean, that we could make God unclean?

Can we ever do something so bad that God will not want to bring us back home?


No matter what, God is never disgusted by us.

No matter what, God never backs away.

No matter what, God never hesitates.


God just waits...

...waits...

...waits...

...for us to say, “If you choose, you can make me clean.”


So that God can say, "Of course, I choose you!

Be made clean!

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