Fr Abi John.
This pericope from the Gospel of Luke registers a miracle done by Jesus in healing a leper at a nameless town. The condition and the status of the leper was so delicate during the time of Jesus. There was a stigma attached to this disease and always such people are considered to be a curse of God. More than the disease the social ostracisation ruined the life of such victims because a stigma was sanctioned by their holy scripture and the self-worth of a person was always negated. And Jesus as the “New Moses” questions those unethical religious sanctions by word and deed. Today, I like to focus on the prayer of the Leper to Jesus and the passionate response of our saviour.
“Lord, If You Are Willing, You Can Make Me Clean”
Prayer to GOD - The leper in this text understands that the ultimate healer is God. The totality of life can be experienced only with the help of God, who is the source of life. God’s experience is both mystical and real. When the reality fails, the human agencies drive to the other domains to settle and resolve the puzzles and pathos of life. The Jewish God said, “I am the Lord, Your healer” (Exodus 15;26). In Spite of these promises, the victims of deadly disease were challenged by the response of the general public because the phobic notions alienated people. Leviticus 13&14 chapter highlights the ritual laws and the religious canons about a leper and leprosy. The “so called faith community” labeled them as polluted ones and kept them outside the camp as they had no medicines to challenge the disease. Likewise we too struggle in the context of the pandemic outbreak of COVID 2020, and predominantly people are panicked and perplexed about the disease. The leper in this context of dead end and bigotry, looked unto to Jesus with Hope. Prayer in a sense is looking for God’s help. It is a spiritual act to realize that human beings cannot resolve all the predicaments in life without God. Even today, I am sure God will guide our medical expertise to find the right vaccine for COVID because God works with humans for their goodness. Here the leper’s praying attitude explicates that we need to look to God for help. Prayer builds hope in our hopeless situations. It creates positive vibes in the midst of negative cacophonic voices. As a faith Community, come what may let us consistently look and turn to God for our help with hope. Cast all your burdens upon the Lord who careth for you.
Lord, If You Are Willing.
Defining the will of God is a complex phenomenon because, for me it differs from context to context. However the essence in God’s will is universal as explained by Saint Paul in the book of Romans 12;2. Which calls for the transformation of mind. God’s Will is always good, pleasing and perfect. A genuine theological hermeneutical apparatus will lead us to say that any act that is Good for all, Pleasing for all and perfect for all is encapsulated as the Will of God. It's not just an idea but an action deeply connected to the truth in life. In socio-political and economical terms we can say that it is a society realizing equality, liberty and fraternity in its absolute level. In the words of Jesus it is the “Kingdom of God”. The Will of God is to offer Goodness of life to all, treating everyone as equals with the due freedom and uniqueness. Unity in diversity, connectedness in plurality with a deep sense of mutual values make the reign of God a possibility. And the leper’s prayer is to realize the will of God, which is always positive, transformative and redemptive. In the context of anxiety and anger about our incapability in combating the negativity in life, we need to discern the Will of God, which will pave a new direction in the process of transformation. A search for God’s will drives us towards the truth and its realization. The leper teaches a quest to discern God’s Will which is always GOOD, PERFECT and PLEASING for all.
Make Me Clean;
Cleaning here is related to spiritual and physical healing. Here the plea is for both internal and external sanctification. Predominantly people are opinionated because of their various influences and constructs. I generally think that opinions are created or evolved by the cultural and traditional norms of a society with an uncertain origin. When we scale such opinions it will be hard to validate its infallibility. Even though the laws for lepers are scriptural, the truth in it is highly negatable due to the attitudes. A sick person needs moral and social support when he is in quarantine instead the demarcative attitudes coupled with religion pollution dismantles the faith in God. Faith is the ultimate source and even navigates death to life. The influence of equivocal and divisive values dictate catastrophic upheavals in human life. Sanctification is the process of affirming us in God as a transformative agency as well serve as an advocacy for it. Freedom commences from self, it's not an outside act, but a force that affirms firmly about God’s freedom for all to celebrate life in its fullness realizing the access to the resources by all. The leper was freed and instructed to restore his relationship with the temple which was not just as a spiritual status but a holistic status. Sanctification is a process to realize the freedom of God in us and treat everyone as free people with mutual respect. In such an act God’s reign will be tasted.