The prayer of a leper
January 11, 2019 Friday
1st Reading: 1 Jn 5:5–13
Gospel: Lk 5:12–16
One day in another town, a man came to Jesus covered with leprosy. On seeing him he bowed down to the ground, and said, “Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean.”Stretching out his hand, Jesus touched the man and said, “Yes, I want it. Be clean.” In an instant the leprosy left him. Then Jesus instructed him, “Tell this to no one. But go and show yourself to the priest. Make an offering for your healing, as Moses prescribed; that should be a proof to the people.”But the news about Jesus spread all the more, and large crowds came to him to listen and be healed of their sickness.
(Daily Gospel in the
The manner the leper asked Jesus in today’s Gospel reading for healing has a lot to teach us about prayer. He told Jesus, “Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean.” These are not words of a man who had grown impatient over a longtime affliction of a dreaded disease. He had all the reasons to be impatient with life. Physically, leprosy was slowly eating him up; emotionally, he was drawn down by the stigma attached by society to lepers like him. It was therefore quite unusual that he showed the sobriety of a patient man when he presented his case to the Lord.
A poster had this line: “Lord I want patience, and I want it now!” In contrast, the leper’s prayer was polite and oozing with confidence. When he prayed, “Lord if you want to you can make me clean”, he was not making a conditional statement; he was stating a fact. It was as though he was saying, “I am made clean because it is God’s will that I live my life to the full.” If he weren’t so sure of the goodness of God he could have rattled off a litany of good deeds he accomplished in the past to challenge God’s capacity to reciprocate. Instead, he humbly yet confidently prayed, “Lord if you want to, you can make me clean.”
When we pray we must pray in confidence that God answers our prayer positively. This is not shameless persistence but correspondence. Correspondence means aligning our lifestyle to the answer we expect of our prayers. Those who pray for patience must act like a patient man; those who pray for financial windfall must start being generous to the less fortunate like he is already a rich man; those praying for happy family life must behave like he is the source of life in the family. If one behaves in accordance with his prayer, there is no doubt that God will take pleasure in answering the prayer, like he did to the leper in today’s Gospel. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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