The key element in this story about Jesus and the leper is that Jesus reached out and touched the leper. By doing that, Jesus broke a multitude of social and religious mores. Lepers were outcasts. To touch a leper made one socially and religiously unclean. It was thought at that time that to touch a leper put your life at risk. Jesus went against the conventional wisdom of the day, and broke the rules. He reached out and touched the leper and when he did so, he communicated awareness, acceptance, love, and a power that produced health.
TOUCH IN OUR LIVES
We appreciate and desire touch in our lives. We like to hold hands, to receive a hug at the appropriate time, or to have a pat on the back. There are times, however, when we avoid touch. We avoid touch when we hurt. There are times when we have the flu or other illness that we don’t want anyone touching us because it hurts. We also avoid touch of reality because we fear it would be too painful. · We don’t allow others to touch us as a defensive mechanism. We don’t want others to get too close to us, or they might discover some things about us that we don’t want them to. Even, we don’t even want to get to close to ourselves, because we don’t want to know the harsh reality of our condition. · We don’t allow others to touch us because we are angry at them. How often we have said, “Don’t touch me! I don’t like what you said, or what you did.”We avoid touch at the very time we need desperately to be touched. How comforting it is in the midst of our sickness to feel the gentle caress of a hand. As much as we don’t want to be known, we crave touch and to be known intimately. Even in our anger we desire the touch of reconciliation.
ASK FOR THE TOUCH
The text today invites us to follow the lead of the leper, and ask Jesus to touch our lives. Like the leper, when we ask God if God wills to heal us, God always replies in the affirmative. We are invited to enter into God’s presence and open ourselves up to a loving God. In God’s presence we are able to confess our hurt, lower our defenses, and release our anger. This passage of scripture invites us to open ourselves to God’s healing touch in our lives, wherever that healing touch is needed. So brothers, Jesus invites us to come to him now in prayer, and share with him our need to be healed. Like the leper whom Jesus healed, so Jesus will say “Yes,” to us, and we touch our lives in ways we have never been touched before.
Today's blog is a reflection given several weeks ago by one of our Marianist Brothers from Togo.