He Stretched Out His Hand

MK 1:40-45

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.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. 

He said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest 
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”

The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

This week’s readings are all about Jesus healing those who come to him.  Some of them were followers, some of them from a part of the country that worshiped foreign gods, and they weren’t sure what to think.  They went about their lives in the meddlesome fog that often plagues society, and did feel the heed of God’s word for them, “But mingled with the nations and imitated their ways” (Psalm 106). 

However, upon discovering Christ, they turned away from their emptiness and entered into the love that was waiting for them in this “healer”.  There is one common denominator among them: they put their faith in him. HOW? They put aside their pride and opened their hearts.  God’s love is so merciful that even those who were not considered to outside the “box” of the ones he came to save (the woman at the well, the leper, the woman from Tyre, and many others) were welcomed into his healing love.

I wasn’t able to attend our Encounter With Christ prayer meeting this week (Ms Laura  took notes and may guest blog about it here soon), but with Lent around the corner, my heart is on surveillance for God’s next amazing move.  I think we are all outside the “box” in some way–we don’t see ourselves fitting into what may seem a “cookie cutter” of beliefs that other’s seem to have–but I believe somewhere in our hearts we are wondering about Jesus and his healing power with a desire to know and love him better.  We may not know it yet, or it may be something that we are putting on hold for whatever reason, but it is that which we seek.  That thing.  That “something’s not right here”, “gotta get outta here”, “that’s not working for me”, ” I don’t understand why this is happening” thing. I again refer to a quote that was brought to my attention by someone I was interviewing for a recent article I wrote:

It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.” Pope John Paul The Great

Three times this week the Holy Spirit has brought a sentence about a certain way to pray to my heart.  Once in our prayer group last week someone said the same exact words as the ones I read in an article about Padre Pio, and again I read them in an online reflection about Jesus’s healing.  That sentence is (spiritually) “reach for the hand of Christ”.

As we prepare like Jesus did for our hearts to enter into Lent, open our hearts and minds to this mental picture of the healing Christ, reaching out to Peter on the water, the woman who needed healing, and the healing needed in everyone one of us.  He reaches his hand out to us in an offering of consolation and the big question as we head into Lent is, will we reach up and accept it?

Prayer: Lord, come into my heart and help me to have the will and trust to surrender myself to your aid.  I reach my hand out to receive your grasp of love and healing over my life.  May I be made clean.  Help to go grow and to know you deeper and more faithfully every moment of my life.


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