The lectionary compels us to consider those distances because it paired Jesus’ healing of a leper with a passage from Leviticus about leprosy. Our distance from the times of Jesus and of the earlier history of his people as well as the ancient Jewish culture causes us to miss what it meant by leprosy. We think disease but biblical leprosy seemed more an imperfection than a disease.
Touch was Jesus’ powerful way to challenge his culture’s sentence upon people. It also made clear that as the Holy One of God,4 Jesus announced what had been lost because of time and culture: God desires that people stand as one and help each other welcome God, not prevent each other from doing so.
- Compose yourself in the Trinity’s healing love.
- Ask the leper of the gospel to present you to Jesus with all the courage and homage with which that leper approached Jesus.
- Tell Jesus in your words what you do to isolate yourself from Jesus and from others.
- Beg Jesus to touch your wound with his wounds to make you whole.
- Close your prayer by saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave us his prayer to remind us that God desires us to seek God’s healing so that we can help others to become whole.
- Leviticus 13.24-27, verses not included by the Lectionary for the First Reading.
- Leviticus 19.33.
- Deuteronomy 10.19.
- Mark 1.24.
- A summary of one study.
- This is St. Paul’s image in 1Corinthians 12; Colossians 2.19.