Friday after Epiphany
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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.”
It happened. There will come a time when something bad happens to you. The reason may be as clear as water or as clear as mud! Regardless, something will happen, and it will change your life for “good.”
Are you ready? How can anyone be ready.
A man full of leprosy. Awful. Terrible. A disease that not only affects the human skin but also the human spirit. I can’t imagine ever living with this horrible condition let alone its terrifying prognosis and permanent isolation.
Are you ready to help? How can anyone help?
Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean. The Lord said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And it happened. The illness went away. The prognosis went away. The isolation went away.
We all remember the time when Pope Francis wrapped his arms around a horribly disfigured man. The man’s physical illness may not have gone away, but his spirit was definitely restored. In just a few brief minutes this sick man had regained his supreme dignity.
The news spread like wildfire across the internet: “Pope Francis embraces horribly disfigured man.” “Pope Francis Kisses Man With Rare Disorder Showing The Healing Power Of Compassion.” “Disfigured man embraced by Pope: ‘I felt only love’“
Soon after his encounter with the Pope, this brave and anonymous soul felt confident enough to reveal his identity. He was ready to come out of hiding; from among the walking dead. He was ready to be interviewed and rejoin society. The newspapers couldn’t get enough of him and they talked about him with love and admiration. His name is Vinicio Riva, they wrote, and the Holy Father had performed a miracle on him. People magazine wrote: “Vinicio Riva feels ‘stronger and happier’ since Pope Francis embraced him”
The disorder may not have left Vinicio, but the stigma sure did. Does this sound familiar? Then [Jesus] ordered [the leper] 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.
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- lk 5