Reflections on the Readings
February 15, 2015 - Year B
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
At the Feet of Jesus
And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
He was an outcast everywhere except at the feet of Jesus. His skin disease, possibly Hansen's Disease, required him to be separated from the community. Dwelling outside of the comfort of his family and friends, this leper warned others of his presence by crying out, "Unclean! Unclean!" All of this while wearing torn clothes and walking about with a shaved head. All of this mattered except at the feet of Jesus. At the feet of Jesus he mattered.
Everyone matters who kneel at the feet of Jesus. I remember kneeling at an old fashion Pentecostal altar when I was nine years old. That was fifty years ago. Kneeling there it seemed as if Jesus was right there. It seemed that Jesus was right there, receiving me at his feet, bathing me in his mercy. Such times grow richer in my memory as the years go by. But anyone who has ever knelt before the Lord can say the same thing.
Meditating before the crucifix is another way I have found myself in his presence. Looking up at that image of Christ, it's Jesus and me all over again, and me struggling to understand such love. Like the soldier who pierced his side, I place myself in his presence at his feet and bathe again in the water and the blood from his Sacred Heart.
Prayer before the Tabernacle is also a place where kneeling before the Lord brings me to the same Jesus from whom the leper received pity. Here I bring the wounds of life, my burdens, my family, my friends, the prayer requests others have asked of me. And all of it matters to him, for we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.
Do you know that in the Gospels we find people just like us coming to Christ? They came to find help and healing for body and soul. We are no different than the folks in the time when Jesus walked in Galilee. And Jesus certainly hasn't changed. For scripture tells us that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) So there's no reason whatsoever to imagine that we cannot find at the feet of Jesus the bodily and spiritual graces we seek. Jesus certainly does not have less compassion after all of these centuries since he ascended into heaven. In fact it could be that since his ascension into heaven and with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, there is more, more, more! More than we could ever imagine.
I don't know of a better way to enter into the mystery of our redemption than beginning Lent with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Lent is a time for some real important and necessary spiritual spring cleaning. Past experience reminds us that confession is good for the soul. It brings us into a deeper relationship with Christ and restores our relationship with others. There is always room to love God more, and to love one another better.
So as we anticipate Lent let's begin it by placing ourselves at the feet of Jesus. And do not forget that he is able to do far more abundantly than we can ask or think for mercy is without measure at the feet of our Lord. In his presence there is help for every need we bring. My dear friend, Jesus promised that he who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and he who knocks, to him the door is open. Just ask the leper Jesus healed in today's Gospel. And just like the leper, may I suggest that we boldly throw ourselves at his feet and ask for the bathing of mercy and forgiveness we need. I promise you that he is not willing that any should perish and that he will answer you with the touch of his hand, "I will; be clean!" Amen.
Dennis Hankins, a Catholic Evangelist, is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN. Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at: www.dennishankins.com