When I was a teenager I had many friends who suffered with moderate or severe acne. I myself suffer with bouts of psoriasis and occasional eczema. It is not a pleasant experience. If you knew anyone who suffered from some skin disorder or perhaps you did yourself, than this week’s readings will find a tender place in your heart.
To suffer from leprosy in the community was a heart breaking and lonely experience. In our first reading from Leviticus, God tells Moses and Aaron that if someone is suspected of having this disease, then they must rip open their garments, shave their head and announce that they are unclean to people. This was for the benefit and well being of the general society.
Now imagine this for a moment. Not only do you have a devastating disease, but now you are separated from society, family and loved ones. People walk on the other side of the street. No one can touch you, there would be no hugs from loved ones, and you could not even hold your own children, and the word “unclean” becomes a description imbedded in your soul. How sad this must have been for these people.
Now fast forward to the Gospel reading. Here we have one of these poor souls approaching our Lord and Savior and asking Him, if He wants to, He can heal him. Jesus, sensing the love and faith of this leper, heals him on the spot. Now imagine if you were this individual. How happy would you be to have been healed? Our Lord tells him to go back to the priests first so he can be declared clean, but overcome with the miracle and emotion this former leper runs through the town announcing what had happened to him.
Sometimes scripture and the Holy Spirit give us the opportunity to meditate and really experience what is happening in the writings. This is one such time. For all those who may have been laughed at or teased or humiliated in some way because of a condition they had nothing to do with, it would be wise for us to embrace our Lord Jesus and turn our pain towards Him. As He loved the leper, so too does He love us. We simply have to turn to Him. So this week, take some time and really talk to Jesus and allow Him to heal the leprosy you’ve been carrying around in your own soul, and perhaps you too will leave rejoicing. Try it! May God richly bless you always!