January 14, 2021

And there came a leper to him, and kneeling down said to him: if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean (Mark 1:40).

Before Jesus spoke to the leper, he reached out and touched him. Having read about leprosy and seeing pictures of their wounds, I can only imagine reaching out and putting my hand on a leper. The scene is unimaginable. Not to Jesus. He knew. He knew the man yearned for a human touch, a caring connection. He knew the leper yearned to be healed, but first, Jesus touched him, made the connection, and sent him on his way, healed. For most people, touching lepers was unthinkable—a gesture never done. Jesus was an expert when it came to compassion. True compassion comes when we become aware of someone’s needs and respond in a meaningful manner. It is not empathy or sympathy but a real connection that causes us to do something if only to answer with the simple gesture of a helping touch. Jesus looked beyond the fact that it was illegal for lepers to approach people. He knew. He knew what was needed was greater than any risk that might be taken. In touching the leper, Jesus expressed his love and personal acceptance of him.

We look at others sometimes with a critical eye to evaluate what we’re seeing. What’s needed is a change in our attitude, a change in the way we see people, to see if there isn’t practical attention to someone’s crisis. We have all experienced a desire for sincere compassion and understanding. None of us need to be healed from leprosy. Still, each of us has certainly experienced physical or spiritual hurting, losses, or situations that cry out for a compassionate touch, a caring connection. Jesus has shown us how now it’s up to us to practice a new habit of looking for opportunities to show compassion. Can we today begin to treat people the way Jesus would?

Think of a time when you witnessed an act of true compassion. What did you see?

Let Us Pray:

Let me express a gentle charity and the peace of the Holy Spirit. God wants this from me, to be stronger than anything else. May I go to God by self-detachment and courage and become more pleasing to him than ever before. Amen. (From Counsels for Spiritual Life, CO 267)


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Nancy MacRoberts

Nancy is an Associate of the Blessed Sacrament at Corpus Christi parish in Houston, TX.