A Reflection on Mark 1:40-41
By Heidi Knofczynski
Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis (or Brother Simeon as he is now known to the Trappist Monks of Saint Joseph’s Abbey) so beautifully puts it in Fire of Mercy/ Heart of the Word:
“Where men flee the leprous contagion, the divine compassion seeks it, is only at home on earth where its impulse to heal can go about its work.”
he shall cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’
A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.
The work of the divine Healer is always more amazing when we contemplate how deep it goes. In healing this poor leper in the Gospels show us not only the Lord’s divine compassion, which He expressive with an intimacy of presence that only One with divine authority over creation could dare to have, but we also see how the Lord draws out fortitude, heroism and courage as part of the true healing that is sought. These are virtues that each of us needs to have restored, because we are made in His image and likeness -- fallen though we may be. Jesus does not just heal physically -- He does not just regenerate rotting flesh, but He heals integrally, restoring life to our soul and dignity to our humanity.
The leper had to break through the isolation of his station in life and endure whatever hostility he aroused as he breaks with convention and himself to be drawn to Jesus in a more profound and personal way. This is what may be in store for us as we seek His healing. Because we too must break through the hostility of a world that has isolated and wounded us. We must struggle to resist the fleshly desires that have enticed and enslaved us. We must let go of the resentments and fear that anchor us to our brokenness. We must be wary of the deceits of the devil who uses every tactic possible to divert us from being drawn into His intimate healing touch.
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.
Yes ,the obstacles are formidable, but His divine power is greater -- submit to it. His divine compassion is deeper-- seek it. His divine healing is ultimately one that recreates our debased, disfigured souls. Hearken back to the power of the divine Word commanding the light to break forth at the dawn of time; the same divine command seperating the light from the darkness; the divine hand that formed man out of clay into His image and likeness and breathed His life into him. That same power that hovered over the waters in the beginning now stretches out his hand over the leper and commands "Be made clean.”
Give one area of sin to the Lord this Lent. and don't give up no matter how many times you fail. When fears arise or when self-condemnation or self-pity overwhelm you with the accusation that you are “unclean” don’t shrink back,. Go to Him in prayer, in sacramental confession, in the Mass and submit yourself to Him saying “if you will it” and trust. Because from the depth of His divine love He does will it. He said so.
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
Glory to God! Heidi