Friday after the Epiphany
(I John5:5-13; Luke 5:12-16)
A man, known for his charity, would always give credit to his wife. He would say that she was the kindest person in the world. Deflecting praise to her, the man showed himself all the more worthy of it. Jesus appears in this mode in the gospel today.
Being confronted by a leper is a bit like having a mentally deranged person come into the room. He or she is likely to cost one time if not more serious trouble. Jesus, however, shows no indication of fright. Quite the contrary he is bold enough to touch the leper, thereby making himself unclean. Meanwhile, his touch restores the leper to health. Jesus then tells the man to have his healing verified by a priest as prescribed by Jewish law. The people, unbothered by the possibility of Jesus’ contamination, throng around him. Curiously, however, he withdraws from them to pray to God.
This gospel gives us insight into God’s coming among us as we conclude Christmas festivities this weekend. He is here to heal us of our infirmities, even at considerable cost to himself. He does not overturn established customs but brings them to fruition. Nor does he exploit his powers for self-aggrandizement; rather, he always stays in touch with their source – his relationship with the Father. More than insight into Jesus, the gospel provides us a model for our lives.