January 16, 2020

Jan. 16

January 16, 2020:  Thursday, 1st week, Ordinary Time

How many connections with today do you see?
Legend below
The leper's simple request to Jesus, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean,” is both act of confidence and challenge.   "I know he can do it and entrust myself to him."  The leper prayed like that because he saw Jesus' compassionate actions.  Compassion is a refrain in the Gospel, seen in the Nain widow story and the Good Samaritan and Prodigal Son parables.  Compassion comes from the heart, gets involved, and leads to action; it's “suffering with,” taking another's suffering upon yourself to resolve and heal it.  This was Jesus' mission:  he didn't come to preach the law then leave; he came in compassion, to suffer with and for us and give us life.  His compassion is so great, it led him to the Cross.  Because of his compassion, he involves himself in our sorrows, others' problems.  He didn't come just to give sermons and return to heaven; he came to be close to us and remain at our side.

Use the prayer often, from the heart:  “Lord, if you will, you can heal, forgive, and help me.”  Or, “Lord, I'm a sinner; have mercy and compassion on me.”  The leper, with his miraculous prayer, was healed thanks to Jesus' compassion.  Jesus isn't ashamed of us.  He came for us sinners; the greater sinner you are, the closer he is to you.  Repeat the prayer, confident that the Lord is close and will take our problems and diseases upon himself.


  • 1 Sm 4:1-11  The Philistines defeated Israel in battle.  Israel's elders asked, “Why did the Lord allow this?  Let's fetch the ark of the Lord that it may save us.”  They brought the ark, and when it arrived, all Israel shouted.  When the Philistines heard the shouting and learned the ark had come, they were afraid:  “Gods have come to them.  Woe to us!  Who can deliver us from these gods that struck the Egyptians with plagues?  Take courage or else you'll become the Hebrews' slaves”  They defeated Israel, killed 30,000, and captured the ark.
  • Ps 44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25  "Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy."  You cast us off and let our foes drive us back.  Why do you forget our woe?
  • Mk 1:40-45  A leper knelt and begged Jesus, “If you wish, you can make me clean.”  Jesus, stretching out to touch him:  “I do; be made clean,” and he was cleansed. “Don't tell anyone.”  But he publicized the matter...
    • Creighton:  “Lepers” (any blemish, e.g., acne, would have been considered leprosy) had to stay away from people, lest they render them unclean.  The leper didn't come shouting "Unclean!"; Jesus touched and cleansed him.  His question, whether Jesus wished to cleanse him, opened the door to a possible counter-question Jesus didn't ask but did to the paralytic:  "Do you want to be healed?"  Being made whole means we have no excuse to expect others to meet our needs, so Jesus essentially asked, "Are you willing to stand on your own two feet?"  Do I really want to be healed?
      Christ cleansing a leper/ Doze
    • One Bread, One Body:  When we suffer tragedy, ask God why, then wait to receive the Lord's revelation. The defeated Israelites asked the right question but didn't wait, assuming they wouldn't get an answer and so fighting, and losing, another battle.  If we don't wait to hear God, we can make tragedies worse.  Don't just do something; sit there.  "By waiting and by calm you shall be saved; in quiet and trust your strength lies."  In bad times, don't get stampeded into activity and decision-making.  Even if we aren't good at hearing God, no alternative is acceptable.  If we act without hearing God, we're doing our own thing, apart from Jesus' lordship, and hastening our downfall.  If we try to listen, the Lord will break through our deafness.
    • Passionist:  Ancient Judaism, rejecting physical manifestations of spirituality and God’s presence, focused on action and belief.  Abraham shattered the golden calf after descending from Sinai with God's commandments.  Jews don't venerate relics or man-made symbols of the Holy, except for the Ark of the Covenant, revered as the only symbol of God's presence.  While in a losing battle, they sent for it to be brought to their camp.  There was great rejoicing and they were filled with confidence and trust in God, but the Philistines defeated them.  Why, especially considering Jesus' cleansing of the leper?  We're still puzzled at how there can be darkness, but beyond the darkness, we can discover unexpected new life and hope.  God is a mystery, but with great mercy and love....

    • DailyScripture.net:  "Jesus can make me clean":  Unlike others who fled at the sight of a leper, Jesus touched the leper who approached him and made him clean.  Lepers were outcasts driven away and left on their own, shunned and regarded as dead.  Jewish law forbade anyone from approaching them.  But this leper approached Jesus confidently and humbly, expecting healing.  Normally a leper would be stoned or at least warded off if he approached a rabbi, but Jesus grants his request and demonstrates God's love, compassion, and tenderness through his touch, contact that would have been regarded as risking infection.  Jesus met the leper's misery with kindness, communicating God's love more eloquently than with words.  The Lord is always ready to show us his mercy and free us from whatever makes us unclean, unapproachable, or unloving towards others.  Do I show kindness and mercy to those who are hard to love, or whom others shun?"
          • Fursa, missionary monk
          • Joseph Vaz, Oratorian priest, missionary to Sri Lanka
        Dress legend
        • 'Car' pin:  You've let us be 'driven' back by our foes (psalm)
        • 'Boundless mercy' button:  "Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy" (psalm)
        • 'Wish bone' tie bar:  "If you wish, you can make me clean" (gospel)
        • 'Doctor's office' tie:  Jesus healed the leper (gospel)
        • Doctor's hands:  Jesus stretched out his hand (gospel)
          • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

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