Friday after Epiphany

Georg Pencz (German, Wroclaw ca. 1500–1550 Leipzig) Christ Healing the Leper, from The Story of Christ, 1534–35 German, Engraving; Sheet: 1 9/16 × 2 5/16 in. (3.9 × 5.8 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917 (17.3.1280) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/432109

Today’s readings

Today, as we continue to celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord, we see Jesus manifested as healer.  “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”  What a wonderful profession of faith!  Here is a man, full of leprosy, who has been in pain and ostracized for perhaps a good portion of his life.  He perhaps has heard about Jesus and was eager to see if he would do what no one has been able to do for him.  No one would even touch a leper, for fear of contracting the disease, or becoming ritually unclean, or both.  So he has been forced to live with it for all this time.  But Jesus isn’t going to be limited by anything, so he does it: he touches the man and says, “I do will it.”  Healing is the will of our Father, and Jesus came to do the Father’s work.  Responding to the man’s faith, Jesus is able to do in him what no one else could do, or even would do.

So Jesus is manifested as a healer, but we know that despite our best efforts of prayer, it doesn’t always work out as it did for the leper.  But there are so many kinds of healing.  What God intends for us may be far different, perhaps far more important to our salvation, than the healing of a disease. 

In any case, whether the disease goes away or not, the person of faith is always given what God intends for her or him.  And that person never walks through suffering alone, because we know that our Lord suffered greatly on that Cross.  So, joining our sufferings to Christ’s, we have him to help us with our own cross, whatever it may be.  Whether God intends our disease to go away or not, he always wills our salvation, which in the end is the essence of what he came to do.  Today Christ is manifested as healer.  Healer of our bodies, perhaps.  But healer of our souls to make them fit for heaven, for sure.

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