For the complete Sunday readings click here.
A friend of mine just told me that she is expecting. She couldn’t wait to share the good news. She was so excited to expand her family and bring a new life into the world. When she told me, her face lit up and she could barely get the words out she was so over come with joy. Have you ever had such good news you couldn’t wait to share?
In the gospel today, Jesus heals a leper. But this wasn’t just a simple healing of a skin disease. This wasn’t even saving the man’s life from leprosy. We hear in the first reading that lepers were required to live away from society. They were to demonstrate that they were unclean by dressing differently. And when they approached someone, they were to yell out the words, “Unclean! Unclean!” Can you imagine that today? Now imagine being healed. This man wasn’t just healed; his place in society was restored. He could again live with family and friends. He could enter the market place. He could actually practice his Jewish faith again. Jesus didn’t simply save this man’s life. Jesus gave back his life, dignity, and worthiness.
Receiving such a great gift, the man couldn’t be silent, even though Jesus tells him to. The former leper goes and immediately begins to tell other people that Jesus healed him. He was so vocal about it that Jesus couldn’t enter a town openly.
By Jesus’ healing action, he actually traded places with the man in a way. Now Jesus has to live in the deserted places just as the leper used to. Now Jesus gets announced every town he enters just like the leper used to have to do.
Jesus doesn’t want to just improve our lives. He doesn’t want to make us better. He wants to radically change everything. Jesus wants to turn our lives completely upside down and the result will be that our lives will be saved. Jesus wants to change everything because only a radical reorientation of our lives will lead to eternal life. This change is such good news that when we truly experience it, we too won’t be able to contain ourselves. Instead, we will shout the good news from the rooftops, “Jesus saved me! My life is completely different because Jesus healed me!”
From now until Ash Wednesday (Feb 18th), pray this simple prayer every night, “Jesus if you wish, you can change my life.”