January 14, 2021 – Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/011421.cfm)
“If you wish, you can make me clean.” This was the plead of the leper to Jesus. The leper had been discriminated, ignored and rejected by his own family and community. Perhaps, all he could remember in his heart were the bitter and hurtful treatment of people around him. No one would dare touch him or just be near him. Any other person, even a family member, would feel disgusted of his presence because he was sick.
Yet, not Jesus. This leper who wanted to be healed and cleansed by God, begged Jesus. The leper who must have heard of the wonders did by Jesus in many places, came and wanted to also experience God’s grace. Nevertheless, what this leper did not expect was the way Jesus did the healing to him. In many instances, Jesus would just say the words, “be healed,” and sick people were healed. But not in this case. Jesus who was always moved with pity, his heart moved with loved and compassion, came and stretched out his hand to touch the leper.
The man must have been surprised at that moment when Jesus stretched out his hand. It must have been the very first touch from another person since he got sick. And it must had been shocking and disgusting too for people around to see that Jesus touched a leper.
Jesus was not supposed to touch the leper and he had to adhere what the people believed. Being there at that time, there must be others who murmured and complained for the daring action of Jesus.
However, Jesus’s intention was to bring healing and to let this leper know that he was not after all abandoned and ignored. God looked at him lovingly and desired life for him. The touch of Jesus was also a powerful message to him and to all the people around. In God, no one is beyond God’s reach, no one is untouchable.
This is the meaning of God stretching out to us. In many ways, Jesus would always stretch out his hand to bring healing and life into our troubled and wounded hearts. God desires to touch us because what God wants for all us is that we may have the fullness of life.
The Letter to the Hebrews tells us too, “listen to his voice and harden not your hearts.” For God to touch us, allow our hearts to be open to God’s hand. A heart hardened by sin and indifference would prevent us to allow God to touch us.
Let our sacraments and the scriptures open our hearts. Allow our friends, family members and the Church and yourself to become the very hand of God stretching out his grace and presence for us today. Hinaut pa.