12th Friday in Ordinary Time
Genesis 17: 1, 9 – 10, 15 – 22; Ps 128: Matthew 8: 1 – 4
Both Abraham and the unnamed leper, though they are separated by centuries, have something in common. Both are struggling with a reality beyond their control, beyond their human power, a reality that has clearly colored their lives and each experiences God’s merciful intervention.
Abraham does have a son, Ishmael, born of the slave Hagar but no son from his wife Sarah. On more than one occasion Abraham has received an extravagant promise from God that his offspring will be exceedingly numerous – how can this be since both he and Sarah are well beyond childbearing? Abraham laughs at this impossibility but God is not put off and insists that it will happen.
The leper, stricken with a living death, is cast out from his family, completely avoided by all except fellow lepers. His life as he knew it is over; he has nothing to look forward to except the release of death itself. But he has heard of Jesus…perhaps, maybe…He can help. This man, in all his wretchedness, is moved by the Holy Spirit, to approach Jesus and his heartfelt request is most respectful, “Lord, if YOU wish, YOU can make me clean.”
Abraham and Sarah in advanced old age will have the son promised by God. The leper, physically and spiritually touched by Jesus, is immediately cleansed. What can we take from this for our own lives?
Is it not the truth, the reality that Our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, wills to intervene in our lives, wills to touch us with His mercy, His wisdom, His love beyond all comprehension? At this very moment, in this Holy Eucharist, the Lord is present to us, intervening for our good, for our eternity through the proclamation of the Sacred Word, through the celebration of this Mass and especially through the most personal experience of Holy Communion.
We are separated from Abraham and the leper by centuries but not by the grace of our God’s presence. Their experience of God’s mercy, unique, totally personal, sacred is ours, yours and mine here and now – of that, there is no doubt.
The responsorial psalm begins with a beatitude: “Blessed are you who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways.” (Ps 128: 1) May our God’s intervention today, this morning, fill us with profound reverence for Him and the desire to live His will.