FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
JANUARY 14, 2021
WORD of the DAY
A leper came to him [and kneeling down] begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” (Mark 1: 40-41)
How shall I live this Word?
In this strange and wonderful encounter, everything begins with the initiative of the leper. They are alone, the two of them. Jesus, and the man kept at a distance by the Law, contagious, proscribed. The latter approaches and kneels, in a cry that is confession, recognition of one’s own filth, a cry of solitude; but it is a voice that nevertheless entrusts itself: “If you want,…”, he pleads, without even naming Jesus. It is only a plea. It resembles the prayer of Abba Macario, who said: “There is no need to say empty words, but to stretch out your hands and say: Lord, as you want and as you know, have mercy on me!” This nameless leper condenses in himself many human beings, far and very close. Ourselves. It is a cry that shakes the roots of a human being, even in Jesus. And Jesus, in a certain way, obeys that cry, in the sense that His will allows Himself to be instructed by the cry of one who, at that moment, is also unclean, He is transgressing the Law that imposed distance. Jesus, Son of God, is taken by the power of pain, by that cry for help. And, moved, angry, He contaminates Himself by taking him by the hand, touching him. He contaminates Himself, while He purifies him, heals him: “I want it, be purified!”. Jesus with His very human feeling educates us to personal, total trust.
Lord Jesus, who in meeting the leper have been crossed by compassion and indignation, save us from the sin that divides us, and from the discriminations that dishearten us. Help us to see your living image also in the face of the disfigured neighbor, to collaborate in your work of redemption of humanity and to tell your brothers and sisters of your wonderful mercy.
The Voice of Rowan Williams, Anglican Theologian
The first miracle performed by Jesus, the healing of the leper, contains a decidedly disconcerting phrase, of which we have two versions in the ancient manuscripts. Jesus, “moved by deep compassion”, says to the leper who begs him: “Of course I do. You can be purified”. According to many ancient manuscripts, however, Jesus was “agitated with deep anger” when he uttered those words. In any case, Jesus is performing a miracle because He is moved, agitated: He is taken. Whether it is because of compassion for a person’s suffering, or the outrage at the grip of disease and prejudice toward the leper marginalized by society, He is clearly not performing a miracle to prove something but seeks faith, relationship with the marginalized person. Confidence heals; Jesus’ healings are always part of a very unique relationship between Him and the person to be healed.
FMA, Rome E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.sanbiagio.org email@example.com Blog: livingscripture.wordpress.com Comment by Mother Ignazia Angelini, OSB