Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jesus and the Lepers

This morning on Mother Angelica Classics, Mother spoke of the cleansing of the ten lepers as told in the Gospel according to Luke 17:11-19.  Her focus was on the gratitude of the one, a Samaritan leper, who returned to thank Jesus for his healing.  Yet I would like to elaborate on something else she emphasized in her commentary, that being that Jesus told the lepers to go and show themselves to the priests before they had been healed. 

While they were still lepers, they were to make the journey to the temple and upon arriving there show to the priests that they had been cleansed of their disease.  This means they would have had to proceed in faith that they would be healed by the time they arrived at the house of the Lord.  Such faith would imply trust in Jesus’ power to cleanse them should they follow His will in obedience, undertaking for their part the labor of making the journey.  

In Scripture, the case of the leper is often used to depict a corporeal image of the human soul.  The decaying body of the leper is a visual representation of the soul’s affliction in sin and a manifestation of it.  This does not mean that everyone who was or is afflicted with leprosy was or is guilty of committing grave sin and has contracted the disease as a result, but it is, as with any human disease, an effect of sin generally and globally if not specifically, that is the condition into which humankind is born.  

As such, the healing of the leper is representative of the healing of the human soul.  The cleansing of the leper is representative of the purification of the soul.  Indeed, as body and soul are united in humanity, through the body the soul may be degraded or restored. 

When Jesus Christ took upon Himself the body, suffering and death, He in rising to new life passing through affliction, made the way for us to follow and do likewise.  As we now suffer in the body, the labor of our journey may bear out for us, degradation of both body and soul, or ultimately, the restoration of such.  It is a matter of the disposition of the heart and mind, a matter of faith and trust in Jesus’ power to cleanse us in and through our afflictions as we make our way to the house of the Lord that will bear out our end.

Our journey can be one of hope and joy in embracing the will of the Lord for us, in passing through this time of affliction in the trust that He is healing and preparing us to stand before God fully cleansed.

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