Nestled in the second Book of Kings,
chapter five, with its 27 verses appears the fascinating person of NAAMAN. Highly gifted as a military commander of the
King of Aram, also highly esteemed and respected by his master and Lord the
King, nonetheless Naaman lived with an unspeakably painful suffering: he was a
Have you ever met a leper personally?
No! Try looking in the mirror the first opportunity
that presents itself and you will indeed discover the face of a leper. Many now
are shocked at this assertion! However,
let me defend my position! There are
two forms of leprosy: the physical leprosy that is a horrible skin
disease---one of the worse diseases in the times of Jesus and the days of the
Old Testament; furthermore there is the leprosy contracted by SIN! SIN IS
Whether we like it or not, admit it or
live in denial, at the moment of conception in our mother’s womb, we contracted
leprosy by inheriting from our first parents Adam and Eve the stain and
contagion of Original Sin. Adding to this initial leprosy are the many
personal/actual sins that we commit; some are venial and unfortunately, others
are mortal. Some are small blemishes; others are gaping, ulcerous wounds!
When do we contract leprosy in our soul?
Remember that sin indeed is “leprosy of the soul”. Let us examine ourselves
from head to foot! THE MIND! Every time we willingly allow the smut of
moral filth to enter in through the windowpanes of our mind, leprosy! Are bad
thoughts sins? No, if we reject them; but yes of we give full consent! Many spiritual lepers today walk the streets
with their minds rotting with the filth of leprosy!
MEMORY! God has given us a memory to recall with
gratitude all of the blessings that He has bestowed on us. “Give thanks to the
Lord for He is good for His mercy endures forever.” However, calling to mind,
fishing in the past and dwelling on ugly memories, memories of sin, most likely
ugly romantic relationships and dwelling on them, then we have contracted
leprosy of the memory.
Do you have leprosy of the eyes?
In a world where we are bombarded from all sides by impure images,
contracting leprosy of the eyes happens almost unknowingly and unwillingly, but
due specifically because of our lack of vigilance. Remember that to follow
Christ is to be in a constant state of spiritual warfare! Examine this checklist to see of you have
tainted your eyes with spiritual leprosy? Immodest programs on TV, especially
cable, looking at magazines or papers that show the indecent, wandering eyes on
the street taking the second or third look, at the workplace or Mall giving
into lust of eyes of the mind and heart, and of widest proliferation and
influence the computer (Smart-phone… others) downloading pornographic
images----- have you in the past or right now in the present given in to these
temptations? If you have responded in
the positive, then humbly admit it you have leprosy of the eyes!!!!
Do you have leprosy of the ears?
What do you allow to enter into the gateway of your mind and heart by
what you hear? Once the great Saint John
Bosco, as a child, was exposed to a man who told a dirty joke. Years later, the
saint lamented that he still could not expunge and obliterate from his memory
that ugly story. How memories remain and linger for years to come! Dr. Adrian Rogers, famous deceased Baptist
minister put it bluntly: “Your ears are not a garbage dump for your neighbor to
dispose trash!” Well said, Pastor! Let
us go through the check-list on the possibility of contracting leprosy of the
ears. Giving full attention to the gossiper of the town, listening willingly to
slander or calumny against your neighbor, allowing others to tell lies without
any attempt to correct them, listening to bad words, and listening to
off-colored jokes, listening to somebody bad-mouth your mother-in-law---- if
you have given in to listening willingly to any species of this conversation,
then own up to it, you have contracted leprosy of the ears!
TONGUE. Do you have leprosy of the tongue? In the letter of Saint James we are exhorted
to be slow to speak and to be quick to listen. Later on in chapter three of St.
James (an excellent chapter on the sins of the tongue), the Holy Spirit warns
us to strive to control the tongue because it can due incalculable evil--- like
a small spark can ignite a huge forest fire! Remember also that Jesus says that
out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Still more, Jesus warns us
that every word that issues forth from our mouth will be exposed to judgment
one day! Wow! Lord save me! Let’s hit the check-list to see if we have
contracted leprosy of the tongue? Giving in to lying, gossip, detraction,
slander, calumny, back-biting, stretching the truth, yelling, criticizing,
fault-finding, insulting, cursing, vulgarities and indecencies, opening up your
mouth impulsively without thinking. Most
likely after reading through this extensive list you might have to humbly admit
that your tongue is coated with thick layers of leprosy! To help in our struggle to cure the tongue of
leprosy recall to mind two enormous support-tools: 1st , the purpose
of speech----it is to communicate the truth with love; 2nd , recall also that on your
tongue is deposited(better yet “enthroned”) the Lord of Lord and King of Kings
the Eucharistic Lord every time you receive Him in Holy Communion! Nothing
unworthy of such a noble King should every issue from the throne which is your
LEPROSY OF THE PALATE AND BELLY!
Also related to leprosy of the tongue
can be added the sin of gluttony in its various manifestations. Let us go through the check list once again.
Do you eat too much, drink too much, smoke to harm you, inhale marijuana or
other drugs, imbibe drugs for the purpose of escaping from the problems of
life. If you have willingly collapsed to
the sin of gluttony, once again admit it; you have contracted the disease of
leprosy! Remember the words of St. Paul, who wrote under the inspiration of the
Holy Spirit, “Remember that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; glorify
God in your bodies….. “ Also, “Whether
you eat or drink, do all for the honor and glory of God…” Paul finally reminds
us not to adore the god of our belly!
LEPRSOY OF THE HEART. Indeed the many forms of leprosy find their
origin and genesis in the human heart. Indeed from the very center of the human
person--- the heart—that is where leprosy must be detected, admitted,
confessed, and extracted! Let us do the
check list once again! Impure motives and intentions, adulterous thoughts,
willful anger, bitterness, vindictiveness, envy, jealousy, rivalry, licentious,
lewd and lascivious affections and desires, arrogance, conceitedness, a haughty
attitude, selfishness and unbridled desire for pleasure. If these fruits of the
flesh are not curtailed, curbed and smothered, like a huge conflagration they
can consume us and transform us into monsters as well as first class lepers!
GOOD NEWS! THERE IS A DOCTOR IN THE
HOUSE! As a remedy for all of these
forms leprosy—mind, eyes, ears, tongue, and heart—there is the best of
“Doctors” and the name of that “Doctor” is Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician. Jesus came into this
world as our Elder-Brother, but also to heal us and to save us! Even though Jesus ascended into heaven and
is seated at the right hand of God the Father, He promised to send His Spirit
upon us and to remain with us always even until the end of time. How and where?
Response--- In the Church, His Mystical Body, specifically, through the
If we have contracted leprosy from head
to foot, if we are nothing more than a gaping wound, if indeed our whole being
is nothing more than a repulsive oozing ulcer, then Jesus is in the business
especially for the worse and the apparently most “Repulsive and repugnant of
lepers” (these we call sinners/spiritual lepers) St. Paul consoles us with
these assuring words: “Where sin abounds the mercy of God abounds all the
In concrete, the Hospital for healing is
the church (in particular, the confessional). The Healer is Jesus Himself, the
Divine Physician. However, Jesus is present in the person of the Catholic
priest—who indeed works in “persona Christi” or “alter christus” (St.
Augustine). As Jesus healed many lepers
during the course of his public ministry by either touching them or by His mere
word, he continues to heal the leprosy of sin through the Sacrament of healing
which is confession.
Back to Naaman! As Naaman bathed seven
times in the Jordan River and his leprous flesh became like the flesh of a
little child. (II Kings 5:14). You do not have to go to the nearest
river and bath seven times but dive into the nearest confessional and bring all
of your leprosy to the Lord Jesus through the priest with faith, true
repentance, and boundless trust in His mercy. “And even though your sins be
like scarlet they will be made as white as the snow.”
My friends, we no longer have to walk
around the world with our leprosy and transmit our leprosy--- which is a highly
contagious disease to others! On the contrary, Jesus is the Wounded-Healer, the
Divine Physician, indeed our lover and Friend. Jesus will heal us, save us and
bring us to our eternal home, heaven, where with Mary we
will praise him with pure and innocent hearts for all eternity!