Jesus can and choose to make us clean.
Three Points of the Homily:
1. Shame of Leprosy
In our gospel today, we see the plight of the shame of the leper. Leprosy was the most dreaded disease in the ancient world. Although little was known then of the origin of the sickness it was clearly known to be contagious and therefore greatly feared. It was the AIDS of the first century. Can you imagine the emotional pain brought by isolation and rejection? He is cut off from his friends and loved ones and has to live outside the camp, either alone, or with other lepers.
Then this leper approaches Jesus convinced of his desperate condition. He fell on his knees and humbled himself as a beggar. Look at this leper’s faith. He said to Jesus, “If you choose, you can make me clean” The leper knew that Jesus could do it. He just didn’t know if He was willing. Jesus is filled with a deep sense of compassion for the man’s plight. Jesus then does something very significant: he physically touches the leper to indicate his compassion.
2. Sin as Spiritual Leprosy
On the outside, leprosy kills the body little by little. It eats away at our skin and muscle. On a spiritual level, that’s what sin does to our soul. It eats away at our soul little by little. Sin alienates us from God and others. We experience also the guilt and shame of Sin.
“Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins, he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of.” - CCC 1503
3. Jesus wants to cleanse us from sin.
Jesus, out of his great compassion, wants to touch us through the priest in the sacrament of confession in order to cleanse us of our spiritual leprosy. Sins that have separated us from God and others and the burden of carrying any guilt or shame.
“The sick try to touch him, ”for power came forth from him and healed them all.” And so in the sacraments Christ continues to “touch” us in order to heal us.” - CCC 1504