THE DAY AFTER THIS STRENUOUS SABBATH in Capernaum Jesus rose early, long before dawn, and went out to pray in a deserted place near the town. When the people heard the mysterious healer had disappeared, they were dismayed and began searching for Him. But the disciples found Him first. When they told Jesus that the whole town was searching for Him, He said:
“Let us go into the neighboring villages and towns, that there also I may preach. For this is why I have come.”
Thus began a long circling tour of evangelizing in Galilee.
In the course of this journey, which occupied most of the month of May, Jesus visited practically every town and village in the region, preaching in the synagogues, healing the sick, and driving out devils from those possessed.
In one of the towns a leper threw himself down before Jesus and begged Him to heal him. He was “full of leprosy”: the disease was in an advanced stage and had begun to eat away the flesh. An outcast according to the Law of Moses, he was trespassing in this very act of approaching Jesus; for the Law forbade lepers to come within six feet of a healthy person. From the time the disease first appeared on their bodies, they were required to live apart from other men, condemned, so the rabbis said, to a living death in punishment for their sins.
Jesus had compassion on the wretch before Him. Stretching forth His hand, He touched him and said:
“I will; be thou made clean.”
At once the leprosy vanished, and after urging him to tell no one what had happened, Jesus sent the man to the priest to have his cure certified, saying:
“Go, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift for thy purification, as Moses commanded, for a witness to them.”
But the former leper told all of his cure. Consequently, Jesus could no longer enter the cities openly, but crowds came to Him even when He withdrew to the desert.
Meditation: The leper had a disease at the body. Many suffer tram leprosy at the soul-those numerous venial sins which eat away the will power. Our Lord is waiting in the Sacrament at Penance to say “be thou made clean.” Will we go to Him, like the leper, and confess and beg pardon? When did I go to confession last?
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 39-40. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.