by Jose Kurian Puliyeril
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 5:12-16, 4: 40-41
From the very early Old Testament days lepers were supposed to live in isolated areas, away from others and they were not supposed to live among the others. Leviticus 13:46 and Numbers 5:2 vouch for the system of the dealing with the lepers. During the time of our Lord Jesus, the situation and the practices were not changed. Even now we do consider such as untouchables. The cure of the leper is explained in St. Matthew 8:2 ff and St. Mark 1:40 ff. We all might doubt how the leper got a chance to come to the city and to meet our Lord, around whom always crowds of people had surrounded in those days. Here we will have to appreciate the will, determination, hope and faith of the leper. It seems that he was sure of the scripture and the greatness of God Almighty. He had no doubt about Lord Jesus and His spiritual authority. St. Luke says that the leper fell on his face. This is the tradition of the Holy Church and the unique style of the orthodox worship. During the blessed Lenten season we are supposed to prostrate so many times. During the prostration we submit ourselves to His disposal and in fact there is nothing greater than this to offer before God Almighty. While we prostrate we beg to our "Lord, have mercy upon me." The leper also did the same and prostrated before our Lord God. The leper's declaration is so significant. He uttered "Lord, if you will, you make me clean". This makes us to assume that he was confident of God's mercy and God's promises in great numbers. In Genesis 18:14, we listen, "Is anything too hard for God?" In Jeremiah 32: 17 we read, "Ah Lord God! Behold thou has made the heaven and earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee". In St. Matthew 8:8 we find the faith and hope of the centurion, who requested our Lord to speak a word. He also had the same feeling and faith that everything is possible for our Lord God. He was so sure that Lord Jesus is the one whom generations were expecting as the savior and He could heal/clean him. Let us think whether we could maintain such a strong and staunch faith in our lives? If our answer is not positive, is it not necessary to look for the required change in our life style. Let us realize that our Holy Church has arranged the Lents for the growth of our spirituality. It ultimately enables us to enrich our spiritual growth into perfection as envisaged by our Lord God.
Our Lord must have been impressed by the poor leper's faith, determination, courage and staunch hope. It might be the reason for Him to touch the untouchable. Our Lord touched the leper and he was clean soon. Our Lord forbade the leper from giving publicity for the healing and the miracle behind it. These days the Christians claiming ability to grant healing as part of their mission effectively, do publicize their deeds and also instruct others to give maximum publicity for their activities. We could find the Episcopal churches also contesting for the maximum publicity for the healing prayers exactly like the sectarian groups. In verse 14 we read our Lord's instruction to show himself to the Priests and to offer for his cleansing according as Moses commanded for a testimony unto them. Remissions of sins are vested with the Holy Church and it is being administered by the priests. One who feels that he/she is away from God and God's teachings must repent well and must go to the priest for the Holy Confession. The Lenten season is the ideal time the penitents to seek remission of sins and to attain closeness to our Lord God.
In Verse 16 we read, "And he withdrew himself into the wilderness and prayed". What would have been his Prayer? Definitely it must be for all of us. He must have prayed for you and me. Let us try our best to be obedient to Him and to do His will and wish. Let us try to be true followers of Lord Jesus. Let us try to be real witnesses in the world. Let us try to transmit His love and light to the less fortunate and deserving thousands.
May God bless us all.
Great Lent Resources - HomeJesus Heals a Man with Leprosy
by: Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil
Garbo Sunday or Sunday of the Leper
by Rev. Fr. Paulose T. Peter, New York
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