Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1 Mark 1:40-45
In today's gospel we hear a leper say to Jesus, "If you wish, you can make me clean.“ Not, "Jesus, please heal me.” But "If you wish…”
Jesus stretches out his hand, touches the leper and heals him. In doing so Jesus answers the leper’s unspoken question, “Do you want me made whole?” But something else has happened in this healing, something equally important, something Jesus has clearly also willed.
Our first reading gives specific instructions to those people suffering from the scourge of leprosy. The leper needs to live apart from the rest of the community. He needs to alert others to his coming by shouting “Unclean!” so that they can keep their distance. All that ostracism, all that separation from the community, disappears along with the physical wounds when Jesus heals the leper. That, too, is what God wills.
Years ago when my children were younger and I worked for a neighborhood nonprofit association, a young woman bounced into my office. She was wearing her cheerleader uniform from the local high school. She came to volunteer and as she smiled broadly I noticed the braces across her front teeth. Her skin color was different than mine, but as I looked at her with love, I smiled and thought, “You could be my daughter.” (My family had just entered the wonderful world of orthodontia ourselves!) I know the conversation at your house about those braces, I thought. I know the warnings about how you need to take very good care of those teeth underneath those expensive braces! I know that because we have the same conversations at our house.
“You could be my daughter.”
That is what God wills for us. That same claiming of others who are different from us by skin color or religion or ability or sexual orientation or politics…. A claiming in love that says, “You could be my child… my sister… my brother…
Let us make God’s will our own.
by Pat Schnee