Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
(I Samuel 4:1-11; Mark 1:40-45)
Being seriously sick creates a series of difficulties. The sick person is not sure that she will ever feel well again. She also likely worries about resources – will she have enough money to pay doctors, purchase medicines, keep up with house and car payments, buy food, etcetera? Consideration of the question of death cannot be far from the person’s attention either. And then the sick person feels isolated, cut off from friends and neighbors. Such challenges are felt by the leper today as he meets Jesus in the wilderness.
The leper recognizes that he is in a sorry state. This is an important realization as one goes before the Lord. No one is perfect. Before God imperfections are magnified like those of weekend runners before Olympic marathoners. The leper also has the right words to say: “’If you wish, you can make me clean.’” God has the power to help him if God judges that a cure is in order. Jesus, of course, does wish him well and heals the leper of his disease. His worries are over, he is free now to rejoin society.
We may not be sick today. But we have debilities, worries, and responsibilities that seem greater than our capacity. We too are wise to go humbly to the Lord in our need. Our prayer need not be more involved than the one-liner of the leper: “Lord, if you wish, you can help me.” We should find God more than ready to come to our assistance.