Moved with pity, he… touched the leper

Published January 13, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Manila Bulletin


Reflections today

The commandment of Moses strictly demands caution when dealing with people with leprosy, which probably was not the same as how we understand this disease today; it could mean various diseases of the skin at that time. Those afflicted with such disease were cut off from the community, while contact with them meant ritual impurity for the one who touched them. The leper who comes to Jesus exhibits such humility in his actions that Jesus is moved with pity. The Greek verb used for “moved with pity” derives from the noun splanchnon, which means “gut.” Many cultures refer to the gut as the seat of affective feeling and emotion. The word captures the humanity of Jesus. Ignoring ritual impurity, he touches the leper to heal him.

There are occasions when our humanity is much more needed than our strict adherence to legalities. Jesus pointed by his actions the supremacy of mercy and compassion over mechanical and scrupulous observance of the Law.

Do I recognize the moments when I have to let go of legalities and give room to compassion and mercy?

Gospel • MARK 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2022,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: