Archive for the ‘Leper Healing’ Category

Gratitude for our Healer

October 8, 2022

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

My dear brothers and sisters, God is the creator of every human being. He has given life to all of us. He continually gives us sustenance, His protection and care. What is expected of us is to be grateful to Him and become more aware of how much we have been given. Gratitude is an expression of the heart, counting our blessings and acknowledging everything that we receive. Giving thanks makes people happier, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and reduces stress. The readings of today present the theme of gratitude, showing that it should come spontaneously from the heart of every individual.

In today’s first reading, we heard the story of Naaman, the military general of the king of Aram. He was a great man in high favor with his master because, by him, the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. The king sends him to the Kingdom of Israel for his healing. The king of Israel, however, misunderstands the entire motive of his coming and shows his anger. This anger is countered by the Prophet Elisha. In the name of Yahweh, Elisha sends a message to Naaman to cleanse himself in the River Jordan. Even though Naaman refuses at first, he carries out the order given by the prophet and is healed. Here we see the conversion of a pagan into believing in the true God. St. Paul, in the second reading, advises Timothy to be grateful to God even in his physical suffering and amid the dangers associated with spreading the word of God. Why? Because God will always be faithful to His people. And in today’s Gospel, we have the narrative of Jesus healing the ten lepers. The incident of the ten lepers happened when Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, where he was to receive His cross and suffer for us.

The Gospel reminds us of the love, kindness, and mercy of Jesus to all classes of the people. Even lepers are not excluded from it. Jesus said to the lepers “go and show yourself to the priest.” While on their way they were gradually healed, one of them, the moment he realized that he was healed, knew that Jesus had healed him and returned to him before going to the priest to fulfill the obligation. He came and prostrated before Jesus, a sign of deepest respect and honor. This act of the Samaritan leper pleased Jesus but was He surprised and sad at the ingratitude of others.

The word of God today tells us that we all need to be grateful to God every day of our life for the graces and good gifts we have received in and through him. He has not only given us our life with all its joys and sorrows, but he has prepared for us a future life of joy and happiness. We often fail to acknowledge the good he has done to us. What is needed in our life is the recognition of these goods and the acknowledgment of gratitude towards God and all persons who come to us as instruments of God.

Also, let us realize the truth that we all need healing from our spiritual leprosy. Although we may not suffer from physical leprosy, the ‘spiritual leprosy’ of sin makes us unclean. Jesus is our Savior who wants to heal us from this leprosy of sin. Since Jesus is not afraid to touch our deepest impurities, let us not hide them. Just as the lepers cried out to Jesus for healing, let us also ask him to heal us from the spiritual leprosy of sins, including all kinds of impurity, injustice, and hatred.

Decoding the Ritual — Friday After Epiphany

January 9, 2010

Jesus stretched out his hand, touched the leper before Him, and said, “Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately and Jesus ordered Him, “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed…” What was Jesus asking this man to do? In the Book of Leviticus it says:

This is the law for the victim of leprosy at the time of his purification. He shall be brought to the priest, who is to go outside the camp to examine him. If the priest finds that the sore of leprosy has healed in the leper, he shall order the man who is to be purified, to get two live, clean birds, as well as some cedar wood, scarlet yarn, and hyssop. The priest shall then order him to slay one of the birds over an earthen vessel with spring water in it. Taking the living bird with the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, the priest shall dip them all in the blood of the bird that was slain over the spring water, and then sprinkle seven times the man to be purified from his leprosy. When he has thus purified him, he shall let the living bird fly away over the countryside.  (Leviticus 14:2-7)

Hidden within this strange Old Covenant ritual, Jesus Christ is concealed. And through Jesus’ death for us on the cross the true symbolism of this ritual is revealed.

The scarlet, the wood and the hyssop all have their place in Christ’s Passion.  The scarlet yarn points to the robe they placed upon Him; the wood to the cross on which they nailed Him; and the hyssop to the branch they used to offer Him drink. One bird is slain and the other is spared, dipped in the water and the blood of its brother. This water points to the water of Christian baptism, which receives its grace through the blood of Jesus’ cross. In the ritual the priest would take all of these things and sprinkle the man to be purified seven (the perfect number of) times from his leprosy. In His Passion Jesus took all these things and used them to purify us from the leprosy of our sins.

In our wonder at these signs, let us make our faith in God firmer, and give Him our thanks.