Christ Healing the Leper, from The Story of Christ,
Engraving by Georg Pencz (1500–1550),
Issued 1534–35,
Engraving on paper
© The Metropolitan Museum, New York

Christ Healing the Leper, from The Story of Christ,
Engraving by Georg Pencz (1500–1550),
Issued 1534–35,
Engraving on paper
© The Metropolitan Museum, New York

Gospel of 12 January 2023

Feeling sorry for him, Jesus touched the leper and cured him

Mark 1:40-45

A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees: ‘If you want to’ he said ‘you can cure me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!’ he said. ‘Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once and he was cured. Jesus immediately sent him away and sternly ordered him, ‘Mind you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your healing prescribed by Moses as evidence of your recovery.’ The man went away, but then started talking about it freely and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived. Even so, people from all around would come to him.

Reflection on the Engraving

One of the first sentences we notice when reading today’s Gospel is that ‘Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him’. Jesus was filled with compassion. He wasn’t just healing people out of a sense of obligation or so that they would listen to what he had to say. Jesus had genuine compassion for people. When the leper approached him, he was genuinely moved and upset at the situation. Jesus didn’t hesitate for one second to heal. He says, ‘Of course I want to heal you’ and then touched the man.

But this wasn't just any man: Jesus  touched a leper. He touched someone severely ill and contagious. The onlookers must have watched with horror as Jesus reached out his hand. By doing so, Jesus entered the physical pain and symptoms of the illness of the leper. Jesus exposed himself to the disease.  Probably the leper hadn’t been touched for years, so the touch of Jesus would have been of as much importance to him as the healing itself.

Christ touches us… but we can also touch Christ… In the words of Pope Francis: ‘We touch the flesh of Christ in those who are outcast, hungry, thirsty, naked, imprisoned, ill, unemployed, persecuted, in search of refuge’.

In our German engraving from 1535, we see the leper living outside the walls of the city that is depicted on the left. He was an outcast, not part of society. We see the moment when Jesus touches and heals him. The two hands of Jesus and of the leper are beautifully interacting, with the right hand of the leper being the very centre of the engraving, illustrating how he reached out to Jesus in gratitude.

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Andy Bocanegra
Member
Andy Bocanegra(@bogie29)
26 days ago

Here in the United States we have a flood of illegal immigrants coming across our southern border. As a grandchild of Mexican immigrants who came to this country lawfully and became citizens, I tend to get resentful of those that are coming here by breaking the law and using resources that should be going to American citizens first. Yet I need to show compassion for those that are looking for a better life. Please pray for me that God will work in my heart.

Anthony
Member
Anthony(@anthony)
26 days ago
Reply to  Andy Bocanegra

Herec in england we have thousands of young men crossing the channel every year. We have to take them in.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace(@spaceforgrace)
25 days ago
Reply to  Anthony

Yes, we have to take them in. Not just men, some women and of course, children too.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace(@spaceforgrace)
25 days ago
Reply to  Andy Bocanegra

I will pray for you. We should treat each other with the compassion that Jesus had.

Lydia Romanin
Member
Lydia Romanin(@lydiaromanin)
26 days ago

“Of course I want to!” It is easy for me to sometimes think that Christ healed devoid of feeling or emotion, that it was just a series of events that happened in the retelling of a story.

This passage brought to light the Truth and fact I already know- that Christ indeed has compassion on us and desires that we are healed!! Praise God that when we decide to turn to Him, He is ready to accept us and cries out, “Of course I want to heal you!”

Shaun
Shaun
26 days ago

Hi Patrick… May I ask if there is any significance to the apparent number 6 on the left of the painting?

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
26 days ago

What a comforting phrase from Our Lord: “Of course I want to”
I have started a little self test…dating the painting each day before I see the details 🙂.Sometimes, I even have a guess at the artist…(not often)

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace(@spaceforgrace)
26 days ago

He shows us the way of compassion, there should be no barriers between us and the poor. Sometimes I get bogged down in self-pity, but this is a reminder that I should meet the poor and the vulnerable in any way I can, especially through prayer. A lovely engraving Patrick, sometimes we take these healing stories for granted (here we go, another leper!) but you have shown us this morning that we never should.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace(@spaceforgrace)
25 days ago

Luckily you bring it back with your comments Patrick. Such a helpful way and rewarding way to share the Gospel!

Adriana
Member
Adriana(@art55)
26 days ago

Our society, at least the one I grew up in, teaches us to keep walking, to cross the street (sometimes for self protection), to look other way. But if we turn around and see the humanity behind those who are marginated maybe that will touch our Christianity fibers and make us better human beings. Easier said than done, but a start is a start.
I love how Pope Francis included the unemployed between those in need of compassion, it can be really hard for people to overcome this, that’s where I’ll head my prayers today.
Good morning everyone, have a plentiful day.

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