Genesis 17:1, 9-10, 15-22
Our readings today challenge us to appreciate how wondrous is our God. In our first reading from the book of Genesis, Abraham enters into a covenant relationship with God and the people of Israel will bear the mark of this covenant for generations to come through circumcision. God also tells Abraham that Sarah is promised the miracle of a baby boy, Isaac, at her most advanced age. Laughable, but true!
In the gospel reading from Mathew, we witness even further the wondrous mercy of God through Jesus’ healing of the man with leprosy. The leper had faith in Jesus and believed that he could be healed. Clearly, the leper was sick and tired of the pain of his isolating illness. Miraculously, the healing touch of Jesus transforms this man’s life. Jesus then instructs the man, now healed, to return to the temple-thus restoring him to the community of faith.
It is clear throughout the Scriptures that God’s greatest desire is to be in relationship with each one of us. Have you ever isolated yourself from your faith community? When in need of healing, have you been willing to ask Jesus for help? Today, we learn the prayer for healing, "Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean." Then, in faith, take the next brave step…go back to your church to begin your relationship anew.
Finally, in your own parish, be sure to look out for individuals "coming home" after a period of isolation and illness. Through a loving extension of hospitality, we too can be a part of the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.
Just to remind myself of my own need for ongoing healing, I think I will pop into a Church today and pray "Here I am Lord…coming home to You…please make me clean!!"
Angela Howell is a retreatant and volunteer at Mater Dolorosa Passionists Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California.