“I do will it. Be made clean.”

Jesus, probably no longer in the synagogue, is approached by a leper (Mk 1:40-45).  The diseased man implores Jesus to heal him if He wishes.  Jesus touches the man, utters the words above, and then tells him to show himself to the priests, but otherwise not to tell anyone.  Instead, the cleansed man spreads the news freely causing Jesus to be unable to enter towns openly but rather forcing Him to stay in deserted places where people flocked to Him.  The unclean man in the gospel was extraordinarily bold.  Lepers were required by law to maintain their distance and warn passers-by of their condition.  But this man comes right up to Jesus with no warning, full of confidence that Jesus can heal him if He desires.  The Lord does not hesitate — he wants to make the man whole and does so by touching him and saying a few words.  Whereas Jews would have declared a person who touches a leper unclean, Jesus purity redounds to the sick man so, instead of Jesus becoming ritually impure, the man becomes pure.  As much as the Lord desired to make the leper clean, so does he wish to do the same for us.  No matter the gravity of our sins, no matter the level of impurity of our soul, a word, a touch from Jesus can take it all away.  But we must be willing to step forward boldly and ask for that forgiveness with a firm purpose of amendment to avoid sin in the future.  No matter our condition, we must never despair of receiving the mercy He so desires to pour out from His sacred heart.  Frequent recourse to prayer (the Rosary is particularly powerful considering the closing lines of the Our Father [Mt 6:12-13] and our request of Jesus’ Mother to “pray for us sinners”), Confession, and Eucharist will make us more receptive to the graces our good God so wants to impart to us.

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