Imagine the damage to the human psyche. How brutally hurtful to the soul it all must have been to live with a belief of yourself as “unclean”, how isolating it would have been. Imagine the powerful impact that Jesus’ healing had on this man, it would have been completely and utterly life altering and transformative! It is so easy to understand how he simply could not keep his mouth shut about what had happened to him. Suddenly he had his life back, he had his family back, his friends and his community! He was no longer an outcast, he no longer identified himself as “unclean” and unfit and unable to be part of the human family!
And so this Gospel begs the question who are the lepers in our lives, in our communities, in our nation and in our world? Immigrants, refugees and migrants, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, all of these people are treated with disdain and contempt by hate groups and people who fail to see their common human dignity, they fail to see that the ones they hate are beloved children of God! Racists, white supremacists, misogynists, xenophobes all fail the most basic of discipleship tests, their lives are ruled by hatred of the other and they do not love their neighbor let alone their enemy, as Jesus commanded us to do as his disciples!
Who are the lepers in my life and how can I try to bring healing and wholeness to them? How can I actively work to bring an end to all of these “isms” that divide, devalue and demean human dignity?