As the war in Viet Nam was ending, newsman Bob Considine accompanied a baby orphan girl from Viet Nam to the U.S. so she could be adopted. On the long flight, the baby’s eyes overflowed with tears, but she made absolutely no sound.
Bob Considine called the flight attendant and asked her what the problem was. She said she had seen this before. She said it was normal: “The reason they don’t make a noise when they cry is because they learned long ago that nobody will come.”
The message in today’s Gospel (Mark 1:40-46), is that if no one else will come to us when we cry, Jesus will come to touch us and to heal us. At the heart of today’s Gospel on this Valentine’s Day is a touch, something we have been sorely missing with our family members and friends this past year with the pandemic. Jesus touches a leper and in so doing he breaks a taboo. Someone with leprosy was untouchable. It was contagious. Lepers were ostracized and forced to live outside the village.
Jesus embraces who others reject and touches who others are afraid to touch. It is ironic that the Gospel begins with Jesus moving freely and the leper cut off and excluded. When the story ends, the situation is reversed. The cured leper goes off freely but Jesus cannot enter a town openly. Jesus has taken the leper’s place.
Look at the cross….You and I should be there because of our sins, judgements and tempers, yet it is Jesus who has taken our place.
Think of a time when you felt lost and alone and the only one to come to you was Jesus.
JESUS LOVES YOU THE WAY YOU ARE, BUT TOO MUCH TO LEAVE YOU THAT WAY!