Prayer of the Day
Daily PrayerJanuary 11th, 2014
Leprosy was a fate worse than death. Anyone diagnosed with leprosy had to leave their home and their loved ones and live well apart from the community because leprosy was so contagious. Worse still it was regarded as a punishment for sin and the leper was deemed ritually unclean. If they appeared in public they had to shout a warning or ring a bell. The leper in today’s Gospel (Luk 5:12) seems to have done none of those things. He trusted Jesus implititedly. He fell on his face and implored Jesus to heal him. The leper’s prayer was very powerful it touched the heart of Jesus. Going against all religious and social taboos Jesus touched the leper and he was healed. This incident reminds us of the beautiful story of St. Francis of Assisi and the leper. Francis was disgusted by the smell of the rotting flesh of lepers so he always tried to avoid them. One day a leper managed to get close enough to Francis to ask him for alms. Francis gave him a coin and because of some inner inspiration he overcame his repugnance and kissed the hand of the leper. Later her was given the grace by God to look after lepers in a hospice. At the moment Pope Francis is giving the world a powerful example of the love and compassion that Jesus and Francis had for the sick and marginalised.