“He Touched Me.” Mark 1:40-45

In today’s gospel, we heard that a leper approached Jesus with strong faith and with a humble heart asked for healing. Seeing his faith and humbleness, Jesus stretched out His hand, touched him with love and mercy, and he was healed. Jesus touched the leper and bridged the gap between what is clean and what is unclean, identified himself with all lepers, with all who are ritually or socially unclean and isolated.

We all need healing from some kind of leprosy that separates us from ourselves, from others, and from God. Healing is a mystery! Let us approach Jesus and ask for our own healings and at the same time — like Jesus — we can touch and heal others, too. To do both, we need deep faith and courage.

Jesus calls each one of us to destroy the walls that separate us from others and to welcome the outcasts and the untouchables of society. God’s loving hand must reach out to the poor, the sick, and lepers — through us — and Jesus wants us to touch their lives. Saint Mother Teresa’s life was a great example for us and her motto is to: “Do small things with great love,” her “small things” left a big impact on the lives of the poor and outcast. Mother Teresa very often says, “The biggest disease today is not leprosy, but rather the feeling of being lonely and unwanted.”

Recently, I saw on the internet the photo of Pope Francis embracing and kissing a 52-year-old man, who was afflicted with leprosy all over his body. A real compassion and mercy showed on the face of Pope Francis as he prayed over this man with leprosy. There was another Francis, St. Francis of Assisi, who encountered and kissed a leper on the road. Afterward, the leper was gone, and then Francis realized that he had embraced and kissed Christ. Our Pope Francis very often says that, “Our Church community should be seen as a hospital for sinners, not as a hotel for saints.” Let us remember the words of Mother Teresa, “I see God in every human being. When I wash a leper’s wounds, I feel I am nursing God Himself.”

As we celebrate the World day of the Sick, let us pray for all who suffer mental or physical illnesses and pray for the caregivers, families, and friends, who accompany them. Let us pray especially for those who have no community to support them and those, who suffer and die alone. Let us have compassion and ask for the willingness of Christ to inspire and sustain us all!