FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
Friday January 11, 2019
WORD of the DAY
Now there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where he was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And the leprosy left him immediately. Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray. (Luke 5: 12-16)
How shall I live this Word?
The power of the Gospel appears in all its surprising novelty behind the lines of the narration of this episode, if we know how to see in the leper, in this reject of society, the one who has the humility and the courage to approach Jesus in spite of his illness. His expectations were not disappointed by his approaching the Teacher. He receives that outstretched hand so full of the warmth of love, which neither the merit of civil solidarity nor the religious precepts of the priestly tradition had offered him. So many eyes closed through fear and incredulity, with windows ajar and from the crevices of that anonymous city perhaps that day they saw the unique and unforgettable scene of the meeting between the Nazarene and the repulsive man that no one, due to the hygienic norm sanctioned by the Torah (Lv. 13) dared to approach. In a “habitat of solitary lepers all boxed in” (S. Fausti) only this one, had emerged, inhabited by the awareness of being in front of the only one who could cure him. Prostrated with his face to the ground, the leper reveals himself to be more orthodox than the Levites in expressing a pure confession of faith, “If you wish, you can”! Only the Lord Jesus can take us away from a city inhabited by anonymous people to make us citizens of His Kingdom, He who came to seek and save those who were lost (Lk 19: 10) without being ashamed to walk the half-deserted streets of our daily life darkened by sin.
My evil, recognized and presented to the Lord, can become the point of departure for the encounter with Him and the first step toward conversion. I can become a true witness of Jesus if I abandon myself to Him and allow Him to renew me in my depths, so that my regenerated life may be a sign for all those who wear the label of Christian but are not indwelled by the Holy Spirit.
The Voice of Pope Francis
It is better to live like an atheist rather than give the counter-witness of being Christians.
Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Via dell’Ateneo Salesiano 81, 00139 Rome, Italy
Comment by Fr. Enrico Emili