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Whatever You Want, Lord!
Friday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” His leprosy was cleansed immediately. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, I ask you to touch my heart that I may pray for what I ought, be made clean, and be filled with your love.
- Homage: “A leper approached, did him homage…” This poor man was totally alone and, as a leper, he was forbidden to come within 6 feet (4 cubits) of another person. He was also required to announce he was unclean so that no one would approach him. How humiliating for the poor suffering man. Yet, in this case, the leper broke all the rules to approach Jesus and do him homage. We rarely, if ever, have to make this kind of sacrifice to offer God praise and worship. We have multiple options for daily Mass nearby, adoration chapels, and access to the sacraments. May we never take for granted the myriad of opportunities we have been given to do homage to the Lord.
- Do You Wish It?: “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” This leper desperately wanted to be cured, yet he approached the Lord in homage and asked, “If you wish.” What humility! Here is a lesson for us. When we pray, we don’t tell God what we want or think is best. Instead, we totally surrender to his will for us. Do we want what God wants for us or what we want? Pope Benedict XVI once was asked, “How does the Pope pray?” “The pope,” he said, “is a beggar before God!” A true beggar trusts totally in God’s benevolent will.
- Be Made Clean: It seems in this passage that the leper’s will was perfectly aligned with God’s will. He was made clean. We all want a resounding answer of “yes” to our prayer, but we need to be completely open to how God wishes to answer us. We let God be God, knowing that he sees things much more clearly than we ever will. “To accept whatever he gives. And to give whatever it takes, with a big smile. This is the surrender to God” (St. Teresa of Calcutta). Will we let him do it his way?
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I so want to be cleansed of all sin and attachment to this world but I also recognize my struggle to give you complete control. I want what you want, Lord! I surrender myself completely to your merciful hands.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will be mindful of surrendering all my petitions and desires completely into God’s hands without condition.
For Further Reflection: Pray the Memorare to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Father Todd Arsenault is from Prince Edward Island, Canada, and is a priest with the Legionaries of Christ. He spent fourteen years doing ministry in the Greater Toronto Area as a chaplain for Regnum Christi and couple’s groups, spiritual director, and retreat master. He is currently on a two-year sabbatical in Rome, studying for a licentiate in Spiritual Theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum.
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