The cleansing of a leper » Manila Bulletin News

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Matthew 8:1-4

 

When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed Him. And then a leper approached, did Him homage, and said, “Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.” He stretched out His hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” His leprosy was cleansed immediately. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”

 

Reflection

Be made clean. Leprosy in the Bible is not strictly equivalent to Hansen’s disease. The word is loosely used for unspecified skin diseases (cf Lv 13) that are regarded not only as ailments of the body but also as forms of uncleanness meriting separation from the community and its socio-religious life (cf Lv 13:45-46). A leper is numbered among the “living dead” because he is seen as stricken by God due to sin and because he is practically cut off from the life of the living.

It is assumed that God could intervene in this terrible state through his messengers and cure the leper. Hence, the Torah of Moses lays down the regulations for the priest to make the diagnosis of anyone claiming to be cured as well as the rites of purification for admission back to the community. This is why, after curing the leper, Jesus tells him, “Go show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses prescribed.” In curing the leper that the Law cannot, Jesus shows He is above the Law, but He does not set it aside. He instructs the healed leper to follow the Law.

 

What sicknesses or situations segregate people from the community today? Do you have the care of Jesus inspiring you to approach the afflicted?

 

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2017,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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