Good News for the Day, January 11, 2018
Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary (308)

Someone with a serious skin problem came to Jesus; kneeling he begged Jesus, “If you want to, you can make me healthy.” Jesus felt sorry and stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do want it. Become clean.” The skin condition immediately cleared up; he became clean. Then, with a stern warning, Jesus sent the man away at once. He told him, “Make sure you tell no one anything, just go, show yourself to the priest and do the ritual about your cleansing—what Moses prescribed—that will be proof enough for them.” The man went away and began to tell everybody about the whole affair. He spread the news everywhere so that it became impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He would stay outside of town in deserted places; people would keep coming to him from everywhere. (Mark 1)

Here Jesus cures a leper, sends him to the expert—the priest—who “clears” him legally and ritually—”he is clean now.” Told to keep quiet, the man blabs to everyone everywhere about this “miracle.”

True goodness—the healing and helping that you do spreads out—pays it forward, as the movie implied. It is—once again—irrelevant to worry whether this was true leprosy, psoriasis, or a simple rash. It is the man’s inner spirit that counts—not what is observable, but what happens in the man’s heart.

Surely, he felt doomed and—by law—excluded from society. He believed that this Jesus could remedy what was wrong. Jesus, for his part, “breaks the law” of the time by touching him. Jesus, knowing the spin of “external miracle” that gets involved in such a miracle, hushes the man—precisely because it is not the external healing—but the internal conversion—that is what matters.

In doing good, it is the spirit of the thing, the quiet and unseen element that is the Good News. The lesson is there—to focus not on reputation, ritual or someone’s skin—but on the true healing, the interior one that goodness creates.

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