Sounds like another mantra to follow…”Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Growing up I used that prayer 4 nights a week, sometimes more, depending on how much my parents insisted we all take a bath. I hated taking baths (showers weren’t allowed – too much water would be used.). I hated taking baths not because I didn’t want to clean up but because my parents were ones who didn’t like to waste just about anything. We saved bacon grease in an old coffee can to be used for cooking. We saved the aluminum pot pie tins to be used again on Saturday night to cook leftovers from that week’s meals in. And, we filled the bath tub once and all the boys would take turns using that one tub of water to bath in. I was the middle child, so by the time I got to the tub, the water was dirty, cold and uninviting. So many nights, I would sit on the toilet and make a splash with my foot every now and then (so Mom and Dad would think I was in the tub) and pray – “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean!!!” Thank goodness these days, I make the rules about bathing. So now I fill the tub and get to take first run at it…Tony and Teresa have now taken up the prayer.
On a more serious note, I thought Bishop Barren’s reflection on Today’s Gospel was rather compelling, so I’m gonna do a cheat day and post that here for you to read.
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus heals a leper who prostrated himself before him.
For biblical Jews, leprosy was especially frightening. According to Leviticus the leper was expelled from the community, compelled to shout “Unclean, unclean!” to warn others away from him. The social ostracization was probably more severe than any physical suffering prompted by the disease—especially at a time when one depended so intimately on the support of others in order to survive.
Now, without denying for a moment this more “external” reading, I would like to follow the Church Fathers in proposing another sort of interpretation, this one more “interior.” What in you has become leprous? What in you is being called back to intimacy with Christ?
Notice the dynamics of the cure in this story. The leprous man comes to Jesus and prostrates himself and asks to be healed. There is no example of healing in the New Testament that does not involve some sort of synergy between Jesus and the one to be cured.
That in you which needs healing must come and prostrate itself before Christ and ask to be received. And of course he wants to heal. That is why he has come.
Do something great for our Lord today – reach out to Him and let Him make you clean from whatever is ailing you whether physical or spiritual. Let Christ say to you “I will do it – be made clean.” And then, PLEASE, empty the tub so fresh water can be put in for the next person.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.
He must increase; I must decrease.
Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.
But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.