Jesus Cleanses a Leper
Reflection on the Gospel of the Friday
Memorial: The First Martyrs of the Church In Rome
In today’s gospel, Jesus encounters a leper who approaches him with confidence, humility, and reverence. During that time, lepers were considered ritually impure, and physical contact with them was seen as defiling. They were required to isolate themselves from society due to the contagious nature of their disease, living outside the village or city community and being banned from public worship.
According to the Law, anyone healed of leprosy had to be examined by a Levitical priest. Once approved, they would undergo cleansing procedures and be reinstated into the covenant life of Israel. The type of sacrifice required for their reinstatement was tailored to their ability to pay.
Jesus, by touching the leper, not only demonstrates his mercy and humility but also displays his compassionate love for the sick and suffering. Rather than becoming ritually unclean, Jesus’ touch imparts purity to the leprous man. As a result, the leper is instantly healed and restored to the normal status of a person, free from the alienation of society. This miracle serves as a sign of God’s unconditional love, and Jesus’ act of curing the leper openly defies the laws of purity.
Although the leper is already purified, Jesus instructs him to fulfill the requirements stated in Leviticus 14. This demonstrates that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill them.
Prayer: Jesus, open my eyes so that I may recognize the spiritual leprosy within me, which hinders my growth and separates me from your presence.
Lord, heal me and make me whole. Amen.