January 8, 2016
The good news for the day
A man with a skin disease comes to Jesus: “You have power (=”Lord”)—if you want to, you can clean me up.” Jesus reached out his arm, touched him, and said, “I want to. Become clean.” Right away the skin disease left him. Then He directed the man to tell nobody, but, instead, “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses laid down; that will be proof for them.” (Luke 5, 12-16)
In this incident, you might note that Jesus broke a law that said: “Don’t touch ‘lepers.’” The Gospels, though, are not talking to you about laws, history, physical miracles, or an ancient incident; they talk to you about your faith—changing your life, growing up in God.
As in secular life, religious people select laws to obey. Notice Jesus disobeys a law that forbids touching lepers, but turns around and does obey one ordering lepers to see a priest.
Why? How does He select which laws to obey or not—and why do you obey selectively? And you do! You find laws that agree with you. You find justification in God and religion for how your history, prejudices and experiences have conditioned you. It is not bad—it is just how it works!
Perhaps you cannot change much—and maybe you can. Jesus does the same human thing you do. His conditioning, though, enables him to feel compassion, find excuses, forgive, help, respect, listen—and all the other noble traits you recognize in caring, passionate, good persons. As you seek to hear and do His Good News, you hear more and more His call to select His traits to absorb and redirect your (bad) instincts—to listen to your conscience in quiet prayer, and to radiate your compassionate Father by reaching out to heal the folks of His Family with their needs. St. Francis broke with his past, hugged a leper—and it has made all the difference