By JENNIFER BURGIN
It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was;
and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And the leprosy left him immediately.
Remember Billy Ocean's classic song When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going? Any fan of the 80's may have seen the "Jewel of the Nile" movie which made this song famous.....
When the "going gets tough" do we turn to Jesus like the leper in today's gospel reading? I think of the poor leper, in horrific pain and discomfort, approaching Jesus with hopefulness. He sees relief from his immense suffering standing in front of him.
Will Jesus flinch at the sight of his ugly sores? No way! Will Jesus run away like so many other people? Absolutely not! Will Jesus heal him? Undeniably YES!
One thing interesting is the leper didn't demand to be healed by shouting loudly or making a scene. He didn't push his weight around acting like he "deserved" healing. He lay prostrate in obedience simply stating, "Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean." He allowed the Lord to call the shots! Wow, if we all had the same faith and patience as the man with leprosy! So many times we want to battle things out ourselves. When we're sick, we moan and groan refusing to go to the doctor. Herbal remedies will help.....When we're having a bad time at work; we take out frustrations on the spouse and kids. That releases stress.....When we're financially under water; we maintain our high life style through credit cards. Plastic is our savior....
Back in 2012, shortly after I returned from my overseas trip to Malaysia, I came down with a bad case of strep throat. I took a round of antibiotics with the symptoms soon disappearing. However, six months later I broke out in a horrible rash all over my face. It turned out to be staph infection related to my original bout with strep. (It had laid dormant for that many months.) It was a more uncommon strain, so I had to go through two different types of antibiotics. I felt like a leper inside and outside! The itching and pain was miserable. I tried to hide my face as best I could but the redness and sores could not be covered up too well....
What if I lived in biblical times? I'd be an outcast in society for a simple skin infection. People would think I gravely sinned against God. I may be living on the streets begging for food. Maybe by some miracle I could repent of my "sins" and be cleansed by a priest in the temple. Just think if Jesus saw me in my pain and discomfort, he'd be willing to cure me! Awesome!
When the going gets tough, the tough get going! We can "get going" by accepting situations as being part of God's will, leaving the control up to Him. We can also "get going" by praying! Don't lose site of the power of prayer when troubles leave us drainedphysically, emotionally, and spiritually.
"Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you." -St. Augustine