June 26, 2020 (Friday of Week 12 Year II: Saint Josemaria Escrivá)
Open your eyes o Lord
Dear friends in Christ, today we celebrate Saint Josemaría Escrivá, was a Catholic priest from Spain and the founder of Opus Dei, an organization of laypeople and priests dedicated to the teaching that everyone is called to holiness by God and that ordinary life can result in sanctity. He was born in 1902 and died in 1975. He dedicated his time to spreading the call to holiness in daily life and was called the "saint of the ordinary" by John Paul II. For him, ”We have to be contemplative souls in the middle of the world, who strive to turn our work into prayer.” He encouraged everyone to seek holiness, “Married people, single people, workers, intellectuals, farmers... right where they are can and should be good children of God.” His message should resound today and always that, "God calls us through what happens during our day: through the suffering and happiness of the people we live with, through the human interests of our colleagues and the things that make up our family life.”
In the gospel of today (Matthew 8:1-4) we have the healing of a leper, in a life changing encounter. The arrangements in Matthew of some of the miracles of Jesus immediately after the Sermon on the Mountain points to the fact, that the miracles testify to the truth of his message; shows the tenderness of God; and they act as visual instructions with deeper meanings for the followers. A leper should ordinarily avoid people, he is cut-off from home, from close contact with others and from the temple. To be a leper in the time of Jesus was to be unclean.
There are a few things to note in this passage, “…a leper came to him and knelt before him saying, ‘Lord if you will, you can make me clean.’” Lepers were not allowed into such close contact with other people, but this particular leper displayed a great faith and braveness to come to Jesus. Examine your faith. In response, Jesus also did something very unusual, “He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying: ‘I will; be clean.’” This action of ‘touching a leper,’ would have rendered someone unclean by the law, but Jesus did. Love conquers all, he was not bothered by that law, but about the well-being of the leper. Jesus then instructed him to keep this secret, but to perform the necessary rituals for a proof of his healing, which begins with going to see the priest.
While you may not be in the same condition as the leper of this passage, what is it that has rendered you unclean? Is it your sins? Your many uncontrollable desires, that have rendered your soul tattered like overused clothes? There may be no one who wants to associate with you in that condition, some may even be prevented by law or their own good name, that may have chosen to steer clear of you but you have someone, who remains a friend and a Saviour and who never abandons even those who have been separated and cut-off from the community. He is the face of the mercy of God. So bring all of your sins to Jesus, bring all of those things that have defaced your soul to him. He desires to rescue you and make you clean, and like the leper of today’s gospel say, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”
Let us pray: Lord make me clean. Give me a pure heart to worship and praise your glory. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.