Devotional Thoughts for the Sunday of Lepers – 17th Feb 2013

By the Grace of God Almighty we are entering the second week of the Great Lent of this year and we start with the Sunday which is referred as the Lepers’ Sunday.
The importance of the miracle is not in the person, who was healed, or the place where he was healed or the way in which he was healed. We all know from the first verse of today’s reading that a man full of leprosy had an opportunity to present himself to our Lord and to request our Lord for His intervention. Let us listen to St. Luke’s description of the opportunity: “And it came to pass when  he was to a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face and besought him, saying, Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” The way in which he had presented his need is super and unique. The first thing is his way of presentation of his need is significant. He fell on his face means he had presented his body entirely on the feet of Lord Jesus. In Malayalam he had a sashtanga pranamam, a worship using eight parts of the body.  Our Kumbideel is based on this principle and we are obliged to have Kumbideel several times during our Lenten prayers. Secondly he prayed, Lord, if you will, you can make me clean. This is the real style of Christian prayer. The leper was confident that the Lord was able to cure him though his disease was so severe and serious. Still he gave prominence for God’s will. The leaders of the so called prayer groups who try to increase the number of their groups always tempt the members of the Episcopal Churches with an invitation: “come and see what is happening in our prayer meetings. One who come and attend our prayer meetings would get everything that they need.” One who might complain that there are no prayers for the needs of the faithful in our Church must realize what is to be prayed and how to be prayed. Today’s reading is a great experience for all of us. We must realize the basic theme of it. While praying for our needs, let us not give importance for the need, or the depth and width in the human assessment, whereas we are obliged to give prominence to the will of God. From the leper let us learn the following:
a)     How to pray. We must present our entire body before His feet, and we must do prostration. (Kumbideel)
b)    We must pray for our personal needs by giving due importance and prominence to God’s will. Let us not project our needs above God’s will. Let us keep our needs subject to God’s will.
c)     Let us pray for the complete cleaning of our body and mind. We need to have cent percent repentance, leaving away all our selfish desires and long for the complete cleaning of our mind, body and spirit. The Lenten prayers give due importance for repentance and sanctification. We should not forget the fact that sanctification is the mercy of God without barriers. It is the will of God Almighty and He could clean any one at any time. We usually classify people around us as good and bad. It is God who could convert the bad or the evil ones much better than many of us.
As soon as our Lord heard the poor Leper’s plea and supplication, He put forth his hand and touched and said, “I will, be thou clean.” We must long to hear such a blessed word from our Lord God. If we were there, we would have murmured: “Jesus is not going to cure him. He might not even listen to him. The leper is crying in vain,” Surprising all the ones who had ill feeling towards the leper, who rushed himself to the presence of Lord Jesus, ignoring the social restrictions, our Lord touched him and cleaned him free and completely. Our Lord made only one condition to show himself to the priest. Our Lord insisted him to have a true confession.
We are again and again reminded by our Lord to present ourselves to the Priest and to have a meaningful and apt confession. When a faithful would kneel before a priest for a touching and meaningful confession, our Lord would surely make him or her clean for all sorts of sins and iniquities. Let us realize the greatness of the sacrament of confession and let us make use of it. Many of us misunderstand the meaning of it and a few insist for the annual confession. In the Holy Church there is no permanent arrangement of annual confession. The sacrament is meant for the faithful when he or she feels the need, and realizes that he or she is far aloof from God. There is no time restriction for this sacrament. The Holy Church insists that her children must have the confession at least once in forty days, unless he or she feels the need to have the same before the due time. Let’s repent well and have confession and attain the forgiveness for our sins.
May God bless us all/
Jose Kurian Puliyeril, Kottayam.

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