Mk 1:40-45 He Was Made Clean
“If you wish, you can make me clean.” Of course the Lord can make him clean and for this poor leper, he does. But, if I had been in this situation, I would not have responded so kindly as the Lord. I would have rebutted, “Do you want to be clean?
I am not sure if anyone is aware that in the Catholic Church, January 1st is not only the feast day of the Mother of God, but also the World Day of Peace. We are now twelve days into the New Year and it appears as though peace will not come. Peace is still searching for a place to stay. We have been bombarded by shootings and massacres; threats and terrorism. Does the Lord not listen to his people? Does he not see? He does! He does listen and he does see. He listens to every thought and word that comes out from his “holy” people! He sees what others do not see. He sees our very acts! And he is moved with pity. He stretches out his hand and finds nothing to hold on to. There are far too many lepers who do not wish to be made clean.
It is sad to see how the shootings in Tuscan are now being played out in the political arena. Political language is now being blamed for the massacre. And yet, when satanic music and video games were suggested by some conservative organizations as influencing the murderous teenagers in Columbine, Michael Moore turned it into a nonsensical comedy!
Why so much violence across America? Because we have turned our backs on the words of our Lord, “Love your enemy. Love your neighbor as yourself.” And in America, we must heed these words for we are a multicultural nation. We do not all share the same history, language or blood. We must make an effort to unite ourselves to more than just freedom and the pursuit of money. We must unite ourselves to the Bringer of Peace and Love.
But how? By these beautiful words from the psalm of the day: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps 95:8). Listen to what the Lord has to say to you. He has much to say. He will speak to your heart today. Pray – meditate - and listen. You will think things you never thought before. You will think yourself crazy with what comes forth from your heart and soul. “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD who made us.” He made me; he knows me; he alone can save me. The world’s salvation will not come by my hands. Salvation comes from the Lord. But I am here to help. “Take care brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God.” (Heb 3:12) My words, my actions can transmit the love of God to my enemy and to my neighbor or they can leave them bruised and torn. What will it be? How shall I do? “If you wish, you can make me clean.”
“Encourage yourselves daily while it is still ‘today,’ so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin. We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.” (Heb 3:14)
Hold on for dear life to those who lift you up, encourage you and support you. Christians are important for one another. Where two or more are gathered, the Lord is present. They are gifts from God. They are partners of Christ. They will remind you of sin’s deceits: hating oneself - especially after a fall, blaming others, pursuing selfish desires and purposes, hidden or cloaked agendas, spoken lies or useless and harmful words, exaggerated fears, prayers or sympathies.
The beginning of love starts with the truth, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Start here and it will lead to love – true love of God and neighbor – wishing the best for them. There are many things we can do without, but love and truth are essential, it is what binds us together.
Let’s get beyond the superficial smiles. All who meet me must see in me a gift from God to them. It doesn’t have to be me, it could be anyone. That’s true, but if I notice the beautiful red sky early in the morning and I am amazed at its beauty, then it was all for me. It didn’t have to be, but it was a gift to me. Likewise, if someone can thank me for being there for them, it didn’t have to be me, but it was. I don’t have to be here, but I am.
Love God and love your neighbor is a vocation we all have. This love can only be sustained through prayer and by being made clean.