Today’s Gospel: Luke 5, 12-16
Today’s reading concerns a man with leprosy who comes to Jesus for healing. Notice how carefully Luke describes this encounter. The man does not actually ask to be healed. He simply states, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus, in reply, says, “I do will it. Be made clean.”
This story is a great illustration of Divine Mercy. Coming to Christ, a simple declaration of faith, then healing. But the story doesn’t end there.
Jesus then instructs the man to show himself to a priest and offer for his cleansing what Moses had prescribed. Why would Jesus insist that the man subject himself to the quarantine, sacrifice and ritual cleansing that Mosaic law requires if he had already been healed?
It seems to me that Jesus is telling us that in addition to having a personal relationship with him, the Church and its traditions also play a role in salvation. He is not just showing respect for Jewish tradition by having the man report to the temple. Jesus knows that the laws set down in Leviticus provide a framework to verify the healing, ensure that proper thanks is offered and that the blessing bestowed upon the man is known throughout the community.
This seemingly simple tale lines up all the elements of salvation in a single encounter; tradition, scripture, church, personal relationship, faith and ultimately God’s Divine Mercy.
In what ways does the Church of today enhance our relationship with Jesus Christ?
Jesus, grant me the wisdom to know when I am in your presence and that my heart will be open to your mercy.
Copyright 2016 Kirk Whitney
Kirk Whitney is a retired Home Economics teacher and school administrator. He now works as a full time grandparent. He is a regular contributor to CatholicMom. He writes about food and cooking at La Surly Table.