A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!”
Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
On Christmas break from college, our family would both enjoy and dread the ‘reuniting.’ Growing up with two parents and six siblings in a small home, we would naturally bump into each other and conflicts would occur. My dad’s solution, to ‘offer it up,’ was not always heeded. Why was it so difficult to ask for or give forgiveness?
Imagine being the leper in today’s Gospel – asking/begging for help and seeing Jesus cure me! With the simple words, ‘if you choose, you can make me clean,’ the leper gave and surrendered himself to Jesus. Jesus’ response of healing and grace freed the leper to devote his life to Jesus.
Can we amend our life and surrender wholly to Jesus?
Wash Me with Your Precious Blood
See, O merciful God, what return
I, your thankless servant, have made
for the innumerable favors
and the wonderful love you have shown me!
What wrongs I have done, what good left undone!
Wash away, I beg you, these faults and stains
with your precious blood, most kind Redeemer,
and make up for my poverty by applying your merits.
Give me the protection I need to amend my life.
I give and surrender myself wholly to you,
and offer you all I possess,
with the prayer that you bestow your grace on me,
so that I may be able to devote and employ
all the thinking power of my mind
and the strength of my body in your holy service,
who are God blessed for ever and ever.
—St. Peter Canisius, SJ, as edited by Michael Harter, SJ, in Hearts on Fire, published by Loyola Press.