Lk 5:12-16 To Be Made Clean
In a similar passage like that of today’s Gospel, the Lord asks, “Do you wish to be made whole?” (cf. John 5:5) The dilemma is similar to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “To be or not to be: that is the question.” Do I wish to be made clean, whole, or holy? Do I give permission to the Lord to do whatever he wishes with me? That is the question. Of course the answer is “yes” when I find myself on my knees pleading for mercy, compassion and love. But how about when I am at the top of my game; when I have climbed the mountain of success; when I have achieved my goals and dreams? Am I ready to lay it all down at his feet? To give it all up and serve him?
Many came to Jesus: the blind, the lame, the lepers and the sinners. But what about those who were strong, could walk on their own, had power and position? No wonder the Lord would “withdraw to deserted places to pray.”
Not too long ago a young boy told me that he wanted to be a priest, but only after he had the chance to be an actor and movie director! I responded, “Oh, I see. You want to give the Lord the last 10 years of your life!”
That is why it is so amazing the recent developments within the Anglican Communion and the decision of five Anglican Bishops to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. One bishop placed his mitre and cozier at the foot of our Lady before leaving for Rome. Let’s be real. This was no easy decision. Imagine for a moment; leave behind your position, your entitlements, your pension, your legacy, your childhood faith and follow your heart, soul and mind into the Catholic Church. Three bishops last week made an act of faith in front of English Cardinals and Bishops and became laymen for the first time in many years. In two weeks they will be ordained priests. They will not become Bishops because they are all married.
It is nothing short of amazing!
How often do we hear comments such as, “The two Churches are so alike.” Why make such a radical change in one’s life? Why? The heart and mind of a holy Christian man cannot rest until it has found the whole truth and nothing but the truth. These men have come to believe the words of St. John the Apostle, “Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1Jn 5:5) Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who is willing to give up everything to follow the Son of God? That is, to give testimony with their tears, sweat and blood that the Lord is more precious, more valuable than any position, power or patrimony!
So we come back to our question once again: To be or not to be? Do I want to be a Christian, a holy Christian, a martyr, a Saint, a child of God? That is the question. Let us not wait to make the decision when we are at the lowest point in our life or, to be clear, when I have fallen into leprosy, or fallen ill, or have obstacles or difficulties to overcome. To turn to God in these moments is not miraculous; it is obvious.
Let us give testimony to God our Savior who helps me up when I am not doing well at all and, still more, lifts me up when I am doing well indeed.