Friday After Epiphany
1st Reading: 1 Jn 5:5-13
Beloved: Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and Blood. The Spirit is the one who testifies, and the Spirit is truth. So there are three who testify, the Spirit, the water, and the Blood, and the three are of one accord. If we accept human testimony, the testimony of God is surely greater. Now the testimony of God is this, that he has testified on behalf of his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of God.
Gospel: Lk 5:12-16
It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And the leprosy left him immediately. Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.
BEING A LEPER: The leper promptly admits his situation and acknowledges that Christ can give life to him – Lord if you wish, you can make me clean. By this request, the leper knows that just by the will of Jesus, he can regain life, and true to his faith, it happens. No wonder Jesus taught us to do God’s will. Though lepers were stigmatized, this one remains determined. He defies exclusion, and comes to plead. How many times do we go out courageously to seek the Lord? When we feel excluded or stigmatized, let this leper be a source of encouragement, rise up, humble yourself before the Lord, and he will restore you to life, and to the society. We who are fine or well-off, may Jesus be our example to reach out to others and restore them to life.
Prayer: Merciful Father, grant that the love of Christ may compel us with the same love you have for us.
JESUS AND HIS FORGIVING LOVE: In the gospel of Luke leprosy represents a physical sign of the invisible reality of sin – the disease that affects us all. Jesus saves us from sin. No matter how bad they are, God loves us so much that He sent His only son to save us from sins. When we ask for forgiveness, God grants it. Like the leper who begged Jesus to cleanse him, so we can ask for forgiveness. Jesus reached out and touched the leper – a person whom others were not even supposed to get close to, much less to touch. But Jesus, who is completely clean and pure, reached out and cleansed his leprosy. Jesus can do the same to us: He can forgive our sins and cleanse us if we ask for His forgiveness. Luke also says that the leper fell on his face when he saw Jesus. This shows that we must all come down from our pride and self-righteousness all the way to the feet of Christ to be forgiven and cleansed. God never stops forgiving and He never stops loving as St. Augustine said, “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”
RIDING ON THE WINGS OF HOPE: The man full of leprosy felt himself a total misfit in society. Yet he disallowed any misgiving about his ability to receive cure; he refused to lose hope. Who among us in situations as terrible as this would not have felt lost? We have all experienced hurting and discouraging comments from those that we trusted. Today, Jesus invites us to stay with Him, knowing all too well our troubles and struggles. In Him, we have the polar star in sight, to carry us through the rough waters and to rise above the conflicts that invade us. Let us always seek to experience this liberating proximity of Jesus. Faith in Him is the ultimate treasure that God grants to us always. May our hope be always in God.