What kind of attitude and position do we take when we ask Jesus to heal and cleanse us from any illness? Do we take a simple, humble, unconditional approach; always trusting in Jesus? Do we have the patience to wait for Jesus to work the miracle in us according to his time and not ours?
Let us use as a reference the example and attitude of the leper, of whom the Gospel speaks of this Sunday, the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. “A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, ‘If you wish, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, ‘I do will it. Be made clean.’ The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.” (Saint Mark 1: 40-42). The attitude of the leper is very simple, humble and exemplary. He did not falter or hesitate to kneel before Jesus, full of confidence, to plead with him for a miracle. Jesus was moved and he pitied the leper, and instantly healed and cleansed him completely of his leprosy.
Many Catholics approach Jesus to beg and ask for a miracle. It is lamentable and sad that they do it very tepidly, with arrogance and many doubts in their hearts. They want Jesus to heal them immediately and if the miracle doesn’t happen instantly, they end up abandoning Jesus; they go in search of other mortal gods and “money lenders.” What a pity! How poor and petty is their faith in Jesus.
On the other hand, others ask him for miracles, but with interest and conditions; as if Jesus were a puppet, meant to be indulgent of whims. That is a childish and immature faith. These types of traditional, manipulative and threatening Catholics often say, “If you make the miracle happen for me, Jesus, I promise you that I will go to Mass every day, confess every month, pray the holy rosary every day, and vow to visit you.”
And what if Jesus does not fulfill or carry out their whims? They surely abandon Jesus, the church, their faith and their supposed prayers, and relationship with Jesus. For those types of Catholics, Jesus gives them the answer, in the beautiful and precious prayer of the Lord’s Prayer, “YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.”
Perhaps we do not have leprosy like the leper that appears in this Sunday’s Gospel, but surely if we are honest, sincere, transparent, and frank, we do have another type of leprosy. For example, the leprosy of envy, egotism, criticism, slander, gossip, reckless judgments, holding grudges, anger, insensitivity, inhumanity, indifference to people around me, arrogance, pride, self importance, boastfulness, etc., etc.
As we come to the Holy Eucharist this weekend, let us ask God, from the heart to cleanse, heal and free us from all leprosy that we have been carrying and dragging around all our lives, and the sins we don’t have the courage to confess before the Priest, minister of God. May God have compassion, goodness, Charity and Mercy on us. Amen!
With charity and service,
Fr. Alberto Villafan, ofm.
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