“Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him.”
Jesus used physical acts – sacramentally – to teach spiritual truths.
A “leper” meant one who was outcast, despised, victimised, persecuted and avoided. Worse than the Jews under Nazi rule before 1938. The Purity Codes in Leviticus – 32 verses in chapter 14 - set out strict guidelines for anyone designated a leper. They were to live away from the community and have no contact until their ailment was healed and that healing had been confirmed by a priest. Until then, no one was to touch them
I believe that Jesus subscribed to the saying, “Law is made for humanity not humanity made for law.” By touching the leper, Jesus showed that he cared for everyone. No matter what adjective added to man or woman – in this case “leper”. Every human had the dignity of a child of God and worthy of compassion.
However, Jesus respects The Law. Jesus commands the healed person to be faithful to the Tradition given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. – and go to The Temple.
Jesus felt pity. The Greek word - very had to pronounce! - is splagcnistheis, which literally means ‘to feel to the depths of one’s internal organs and bowels’, which the ancients believed to be the root of feelings of compassion.
Jesus is a God of compassion. We witness the radical nature of the Good News. It is Good News for all humanity, not just for the healthy or nice and good.. Though many people reject God, God rejects no one.
We must try to do the same. Not always easy. I admit that all too often when some ugly – physically and mentally – person come into my orbit my first reaction is “Yuck!” Then, I remember Jesus saying “What you do to the least of mine, you are doing to me.”
My Christian reaction comes into play. So, no matter how ugly you are, you are fine with me.
Prof. Msgr. Vladimir Felzmann aka Father Vlad
send Father Vlad a message
+44 (7810) 116 508