✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – June 25, 2021: Friday

“Showing the world that we are redeemed, so that they will believe in our Redeemer!”

(Based on Gen 17:1-10, 15-22 and Mt 8:1-4 – Friday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time)

A missionary who stepped into a village for the first time had an interaction with the village headman.

After knowing that the missionary was there to speak about the Gospel, the village headman, who was open to the truth, stood up…
… and asked the missionary: “Do you want us to know about Jesus Christ?
Then prove it also by your life!”

He went on to say, “As I welcome you to this village, I also appeal to you:
Not only tell us about Christ, but show us Christ!
>> Show us that you are redeemed, and we will believe in your Redeemer!”

Yes, so true is the saying: “Christianity refuses to be proved first and practiced afterwards…
… its practice and its proof go hand in hand!”

• Theoretical knowledge shows the whole forest – builds the context and helps to set strategy.
• Practical knowledge shows a single tree – puts forth the situation and challenges to act.

The Gospel of the Day is the narrative of the ‘first in the series’ of practical applications of the theoretical knowledge that Jesus has expounded through the Sermon on the Mount
>> The Gospel is a great challenge to all of us who are expected to “Not only tell about Christ, but also show Christ!”

The incident of the cleansing of the Leper in Mt 8: 1-4 is placed immediately after the Great Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1- 7:29)
• The Sermon on the Mount was the theoretical knowledge that Jesus expounded
• The cleansing of the leper was the theoretical application of some of those principles

At the start of the Sermon on the Mount, we read “When Jesus saw the CROWDS, He went up to the mountain…..” (Mt 5:1)

At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, we read, “When Jesus came down from the mountain, great CROWDS followed Him” (Mt 8:1)

• Many people in the crowd have listened and marvelled at the teachings of Jesus.
• Many of them now follow Him…

Perhaps to see how He would apply those lofty teachings in real life
Perhaps to see whether all those high ideas were really liveable in actual life

And what is the scene that they encounter?

A leper who approaches Jesus!

“A leper!!”… Ooops!!

“Stay away, all” would have been the united chorus of that multitude of crowd!

Leprosy was one of the most feared and dreaded disease of the ancient world.
>> The Hebrew word for leprosy (Tsara’ath) comes from a root word which means “to scourge or to strike.”

Leprosy was very often, considered a curse.
>> It was incurable and highly deadly – blatantly evident on the body and an ugly sight!

Leprosy was almost a ‘living death’, with many sweeping implications.

A person would be declared a leper after tests were performed (Lev. 13).
Once declared a leper by the priest, the leper had to be cut-off from contact with society.

• He had to display marks of mourning, as if for the dead (thus, to touch him would defile oneself)
• When someone drew near, he had to call out, “Unclean! Unclean!”
• He had to remain outside the camp with no access to the temple or perform any worship.

Leprosy was, indeed, a living death!

The crowd who saw this leper approach and worship Jesus would have had mixed feelings – shock… anger… unpleasantness…

They would have been also very curious what would Jesus do…
“He preached so much… let’s see what He does now”
“Is He really going to touch and get defiled by that dirty leper?”

But the Lord was not just well-versed in theoretical knowledge; He was also the perfect executioner of applied knowledge!

Theoretically He had said…
“Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees and the Scribes, you shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20)
>> Practically…
He now goes beyond the ceremonial stipulations of the Law and ‘touches’ and heals the leper (Mt 8:3)

Theoretically He had said…
“… take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them” (Mt 6:1)
>> Practically…
He tells the leper not to make a publicized show of his cure; instead to ‘show himself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded’ (Mt 8:4)

Theoretically He had said…
“Judge not, that, you may not be judged” (Mt 7:1)
>> Practically…
He doesn’t condemn or despise or mock the leper who comes close to him and instead expresses his whole-hearted willingness to shower mercy on him by saying, “I am willing; be clean” (Mt 8:3)

Theoretically He had said…
“Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the Will of the Father in heaven” (7:21)
>> Practically…
He puts into effect His teachings, ‘walking the talk’ and fulfilling the Will of the Father to be a Healer and Saviour to people.

The Lord was not just an eloquent and effective preacher but also a committed and convinced practiser of what He spoke.
• His deeds matched His wonderful words!
• His words produced dazzling deeds!

This then is the invitation to us too:
To have an integral Christian Life by being a Preacher of the Word (in whichever little or insignificant way possible) and a Practiser of the Word (through a witnessing and charitable life)

May the touch of the Lord take away any ‘leprous’ tendencies in our mind and life and free us from any bondage in order to live a firm and committed Christian Life!

Let us all become a zealous missionary with a clear awareness that we “not only need tell about Christ, but we also need to show Christ to the world!”

Yes, “let us show the world that we are redeemed, so that they will believe in our Redeemer!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

– Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS
Bengaluru, India

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
>> Many things about Jesus of interest to human curiosity do not figure in the Gospels.
>> Almost nothing is said about his hidden life at Nazareth, and even a great part of his public life is not recounted.
>> What is written in the Gospels was set down there “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”
>> The Gospels were written by men who were among the first to have the faith…
… and wanted to share it with others.
>> Having known in faith who Jesus is, they could see and make others see the traces of his mystery in all his earthly life.
>> From the swaddling clothes of his birth to the vinegar of His Passion and the shroud of his Resurrection, everything in Jesus’ life was a sign of his mystery.
>> His deeds, miracles and words all revealed that “in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”
>> His humanity appeared as “sacrament”, that is, the sign and instrument, of His Divinity and of the Salvation He brings: what was visible in His earthly life…
… leads to the invisible mystery of His Divine Sonship and Redemptive Mission! (Cf. CCC # 514-515)


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