Hope Amidst the Pandemic

Jesus’ Touch is a Message of Hope

In the Gospel of Mark (1:40-45), we hear of the leper who had the courage to approach Jesus to ask for healing. According to the Jewish culture, leprosy is seen as a judgment on particular egregious sins (c.f. Kings 5:27; 15:5;2). A leper should by all accounts is mandated to live in isolation apart from the community. The leper is basically an outcast of society.  If we examine carefully how Jesus responded to the plea of the man who has leprosy, we can see three actions. First, Jesus was moved with pity. Jesus was touched by the leper’s courage to approach him.  The leper’s audacity brought him healing. Second, Jesus stretched out His hand to touch the leper. In the Jewish temple laws, whoever touches a leper will become unclean also. Yet, by touching the leper’s wounds, Jesus has shown him companion. Third, He cleansed the leper by the power of His Word. 

For us to be freed from the darkness of isolation, we are invited by the Lord to offer all our woundedness to him.”

Each of us has probably experienced being rejected. We all have this painful experience of being rejected by family, friends, jealous colleagues, etc. Thus, we can imagine how painful it is for the leper to be barred from joining all their community gathering because of his sickness. The leper’s hope was robbed by the people who surrounded him. However, we can see that the leper has never become discouraged by what happened to him and society’s response to his situation. Hence, Jesus’ response “I do choose it. Be made clean (c.f. Mk.1:41)” is a message of hope not just for the leper but for all of us. It is a concrete reminder that even in our worst, God would never abandon us. He is ever ready to accept us as we are. Today we are called to look at our personal wounds especially in this time of Covid-19 pandemic. Why do we consider it as our wound? And has it not healed until today?

For us to be freed from the darkness of isolation, we are invited by the Lord to offer all our woundedness to him. The great spiritual writer, Henri Nouwen, expresses this invitation to hope and freedom more beautifully. He writes: “Hope means to keep living amid desperation and to keep humming in the darkness. Hoping is knowing that there is darkness. Hoping is knowing that there is love: it is trust in tomorrow: it is falling asleep and walking again when the sun rises. In a midst of a gale at sea, it is to discover land. In the eyes of another, it is to see that you are understood. As long as there is hope there will always be prayer. And you will be held in God’s hand.”[1]

Sem. Algine Caesar Romano (Diocese of Butuan)

[1] Henri Nouwen Society. (Date access: February 09,2021)

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