“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”

The headline from today’s gospel (Lk 5:12-16) contains the words of a leper Jesus encounters on the road.  Jesus does heal him, tells him not to tell anyone but go show the priests.  Nevertheless, word spreads rapidly.  Great crowds continue to pursue Jesus.  Even so, He does slip away to pray.

There are a number of important aspects to this short sentence of the leper:

  1. Only the Lord can make us clean.  Allegorically, we immediately think of the uncleanness of sin.  We must want to eliminate sin and its effects, and we are to cooperate with grace to do so, but only God can forgive sins and through His spirit send those graces that fortify us.
  2. The Lord does wish to make us clean.  This desire of His never stops until we draw our last breath.  We think of the Divine Mercy revealed to Sr. Faustina.  Yet Jesus does not force Himself upon us.  Rather, like He did on this earth with the Father, He desires that we conform our will to His.
  3. We don’t need a multiplicity of words with Jesus — He knows what we need (cf. Mt 6:7-8).  Like with sacramental confession we can and should get right to the point.
  4. Total trust in Jesus.  The sick man (i.e., all of us) knows Jesus can heal Him.  There is no doubt, no hesitation.  Is that the case with us?  And whether the healing happens or not are we good with that?  Jesus asks us to lay our cares upon Him and believe that whatever comes it is what is best for the situation.

Lord, make me clean.

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