January 12, 2012
Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary
Father Paul Campbell, LC
Listen to the
podcast version here.
A leper came
to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him,
"If you choose, you can make me clean." 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. After
sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying
to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but
go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your
cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." But
he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and
to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer
go into a town openly, but stayed out in the
country; and people came to him from every quarter.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for this time together. I
need you in my life and the life of my
family. It is easy to let activities overwhelm me so
that I lose track of you. You fade into the
distance, and sometimes sin grows closer. But I know you
are always there for me with your unconditional love. Thank
you. I love you and long to put you first
in my life.
Petition: Lord, wash me from my
sins and help me to be detached from them.
1. If You Choose: A leper approaches and falls before
Jesus. “If you choose, you can make me clean.” This
leper couldn’t free himself from his disease any more than
we can free ourselves from our sin. Leprosy was a
fatal disease. It separated a man from his family and
drove him outside his village to lonely places. Leprosy is
a symbol for sin. Sin separates us from God and
from others. We need to approach Jesus with that same
humility and trust we see in the leper. This story
is for us, to show us Christ’s heart. It reveals
his love and his desire to free us from sin.
Am I convinced of the ugliness of all sin and
how it defaces our souls?
2. I Do Choose:
Jesus chose to heal the leper. Not only did he
heal him, he touched him. He reached out to the
loneliness of that man, and he touched his life to
cure him of the disease. This reveals Christ’s heart so
beautifully. Our sin never drives him away from us. He
is always ready and willing to come to our aid
if only we would cry out for his help. Am
I capable of opening all of the inner wounds of
my sins to Our Lord so that he can heal
me, wash me clean and make me whole again?
3. Jesus Wants Us Free: Sin keeps us from being
who we were meant to be. “Everyone who commits sin
is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). Jesus was free
from sin and so was free to love and serve
others. He wasn’t compelled by greed or anger. He wasn’t
moved by pride or impeded by laziness. He was free
to love, and he loved to the extent of dying
on a cross. Sin closes us in on ourselves. We
get absorbed in ourselves and others take the back seat
– or no seat at all. How often do we
say “no” to others and turn a blind eye to
their needs? Isn’t it sin that blinds us and selfishness
that impedes us from loving others as Christ loves us?
Christ can free us from sin so that we are
empowered to love as he loves.
Conversation with Christ:
Jesus, I want to be free, but I need your
help. Without you, I can do nothing. Help me to
trust you and to turn to you. Don’t let me
go off on my own as if I could keep
fighting without you. Free me to love you. Free me
to love others.
Resolution: I will pray Psalm 51
for myself and my loved ones.