Our Gospel readings are taken today from the Gospel of Mark who offers us a good insight into Jesus and his mission. The author of Mark, from the beginning of chapter one demonstrates Jesus as the suffering servant who like the leper he wished to heal finds himself now outside the town in a reversal of situations. Jesus desires healing for the leper, we read that he was moved with pity v. 41. The message for us today is the understanding of the word “pity” with which Jesus demonstrates, “I do will it. Be made clean. v.41. The word for pity has been described as womb or Rakhem in Hebrew.
Jesus had this deep desire to bring healing to this leper in an almost maternal way. This is such a profound insight offered to us in the text. Jesus came to show us the Father’s love and right at the beginning of Jesus’ life, we are invited to come to know the love of the Father.
In his book, Gazing on His Face, Robin Ryan, C.P. offers “Real Friendship is grounded in mutual concern. (Ryan, 8)” Can we begin to understand that Jesus’ desire for us is mutual concern of friendship and healing? He desires our healing so much so that he is now on the outside. Recently in Advent, Pope Francis invited us to reflect on the humility of Jesus. Can we encounter a more example of humility? Absolutely! Read on through this Gospel.
Can we make this our aim for the New Year? To come to know Jesus as a loving, caring and, humble friend? Like our first reading, it is easy to get drawn into chaos and strife around us. Today, in the Gospel, Jesus invites us to look to his love, care, and healing. He wills us to be healed.
Come, Lord, Jesus and fill our hearts with your humility. May we have Peace on Earth in this New Year. Bless, the Lord, O my soul. Amen.
Jean Bowler is a retreatant at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California, and a member of the Office of Mission Effectiveness Board of Holy Cross Province.