In the time of Jesus the disease of
leprosy was seen as one of the worse tragedies that could befall the human
person. The suffering included physical, emotional, social, familial, and
theological and moral--- in a word, it was all-encompassing the magnitude of
the intensity in the reality of a leper.
For your own personal meditation, read the following two Biblical
passages taken form two separate Gospels.
(Read Mt. 5:-14; Lk. 17:11-19
The qualities of leprosy: physical, social and moral.
One of the worse diseases in the time
Qualities: contagious, would spread from
one part of the body to the other. It started on the extremities of the body.
Like AIDS today it was incurable.
SOCIALLY—Would be excluded from the
society and have to live in what were called “Leper-colonies”. Seen as the outcasts of society.
SEEN as the living dead---Movie Ben
THEOLOGICALLY—many thought they were
chastised by God.
Had to cry out “Impure” if anyone
drew near….The Mosaic Law.
Low self-esteem; Suicide was very
high among them. No hope.
People were afraid to get close to
ATTITUDE OF JESUS TOWARD THE PERSON
OF THE LEPER.
DIGNITY. He saw his innate dignity. God created him out of love and for a
specific mission in life.
COMPASSION. Jesus suffered with the
Not only would Jesus draw near but
would actually touch; this was unthinkable!
Instead of contracting the disease,
Jesus healed it.
BEST DOCTOR! He would heal it immediately!
INGRATITUDE! A very sad case of ingratitude—the case of
the healing of the ten lepers. Jesus healed all ten of the lepers, but only one
returned to render Him thanksgiving. (Lk.17:11-19) This is the Gospel read in the United States
on Thanksgiving Day.
OUR OWN SPIRITUAL LEPROSY--- We are
all lepers due to Original Sin and personal sin—
ORIGINAL SIN. We contract spiritual leprosy in the moment
of our conception through Original Sin.
Personal sin. The moral disease of
leprosy of soul continues through our own personal sin. Now let us enter into an examination of
conscience on how we can contract leprosy throughout our body, by misusing our
various members. Brace yourself!
Giving in to bad thoughts….Did you ever entertain bad thoughts? A man was once asked, “Did you entertain bad
thoughts?” He responded quickly: “No they entertained me!”
Looking at impure images….There is a story of a Gang member’s conversion.
He was able to give up drinking and drugs but he could not give up looking at
porn. Padre Pio met a blind man who
begged the saint to heal him. Padre Pio said that he could, but that he would
lose his soul for all eternity if healed. The man chose to remain blind!
Saints could smell the bad odor of sin, especially against purity: St.
John Bosco, St Philip Neri, and St Catherine of Siena… Are you a “Nosy” individual? Do you have the habit of butting into other
people’s affairs??? This is leprosy of
TONGUE! Lies, stretching the truth, yelling, criticizing,
gossiping, slandering, detraction, character assassination, or coloring the
truth--- do you give in to any of these?
You have leprosy of the tongue.
TONGUE--- Gluttony! Do you eat to
live or live to eat? If your live only
to eat (the God of the belly, as St. Paul reminds us) then you most likely have
leprosy of the tongue once again!
HANDS. “Five finger discount”--- a youthful way of
describing stealing… Have you given in to fighting, pushing, honking the horn
for no reason, offensive hand gestures? Check out your hands to see if there
are traces of leprosy!
Women that dress immodestly, this can easily be a source of sin of the
eyes for men--- these legs are ulcerated with ugly leprosy!
10.FEET. …that took you the wrong place many times…
Bars, bad movies , encounters with wrong people in the wrong places--- check
out your feet to see if leprosy is growing there!
11.HEART!!! Do you give way to allowing your heart to
sway from the love of Jesus? If you are
married, people should be like horses on a race track and have tunnel-vision
only for their spouses and not sway to the left or the right and check out the
other attractive women. Remember the
wandering eyes of King David and the catastrophic consequences.
12.HEART. Maybe you give in to jealousy, envy,
resentment, anger, bitterness, revenge, lust and impurity, selfishness and
egotism, and overweening pride--- Face it, leprosy of the heart is yours!!!
Good news! There is a Doctor in the House, the best of
all Spiritual Doctors and His name is JESUS CHRIST, as well as Our Lady, Health
of the sick! Following are various ways
that our leprosy can be remedied and healed by the Divine Physician, Our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ!
HEALING OF THE SPIRITUAL LEPROSY:
Sacrament of Confession… We enter the confessional as a leper, but
after having made a good confession we leave cleansed of the leprosy and our
soul made white as the snow. As Isaiah,
the great prophet of the Old Testament says, “Though your sins be like scarlet,
I will make them as white as the snow.”
Sacrament of the Sick…. An effect of this Sacrament is healing of
spiritual wounds, the wounds of sin…
Communion is antidote to our daily
infirmities. The Council of Trent
encourages us to receive Holy Communion and this greatest of all Sacraments can
heal us of our venial sins--- another form of minor leprosy!
Our Lady is known as Health of the
Sick. Saints as well as sinners have
been healed through the intercession of Our Lady, known as “Health of the
Either we will be spiritual lepers
communicating our disease to others or be a healing source to others. Henri Nouwen stated that we are either
“wounded wounders or wounded healers.”
LEPROSY STORIES: TO LOOK INTO!
Archbishop Fulton Sheen met the woman
leper with no limbs—neither arms nor legs. The woman smiled from ear to ear,
radiating indescribable joy and said: “But there is a Resurrection!”
Fulton Sheen once failed to touch the
massive rot of a leper’s hand but dropped a cross into the massive wound of
leprosy. Sheen recognized that he was one of the lepers in that leper colony
because he failed to identify himself with suffering humanity.
Read the story of NAAMAN THE LEPER…
St. Damien of Molokai was working
with the lepers. He was accused of
immorality with a woman and exonerated through the intervention of the great
poet Robert Louis Stevenson. He contracted leprosy and died of it. However, his
greatest suffering was that he could not go to confession because there was no
other priest on the island. This
spiritual leprosy of his soul was what caused him the greatest suffering.
CONCLUSION! We all have some forms of leprosy due to
Original sin as well as personal sin. Still, we should never give in to despair
because Jesus is the Divine Physician that can heal us at any time we approach
Him in the context of the Sacrament of Confession. Then we can be wounded healers in a wounded