Sunday, February 11, 2018
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” Mark 1:40-41
“I do will it.” These four little words are worth digging into and pondering. At first, we may read these words quickly and miss their depth and significance. We may simply jump to that which Jesus wills and miss the fact of His willing itself. But His act of willing is significant. Sure, that which He willed is significant also. The fact that He cured a leper has great meaning and significance. Certainly it shows us His authority over nature. It shows His almighty power. It shows that Jesus can heal all wounds that are analogized by leprosy. But don’t miss those four words: “I do will it.”
First of all, the two words “I do” are sacred words used at various times in our liturgies and are used to profess faith and commitment. They are used in marriages to establish an unbreakable spiritual union, they are used in baptisms and other sacraments to renew our faith publicly, and they are also used in the ordination rite of priests as he makes his solemn promises. To say “I do” is what one may call “action words.” They are words that are also an act, a choice, a commitment, a decision. They are words that have an effect on who we are and what we choose to become.
Jesus also adds “…will it.” So Jesus is not just making a personal choice here or a personal commitment about His own life and convictions; rather, His words are an action that is effective and makes a difference for another. The mere fact that He wills something, and then sets that will into motion by His words, means something happened. Something changed. An act of God was accomplished.
It would be of great benefit to us to sit with those words and ponder what sort of significance they have in our lives. When Jesus speaks those words to us, what is He willing? What is the “it” He is referring to? He definitely has a particular will for our lives and He is definitely willing to enact it in our lives if we are willing to hear those words.
In this Gospel passage, the leper was completely disposed to Jesus’ words. He was on his knees before Him as a sign of complete trust and complete submission. He was ready to have Jesus act in his life and it is this openness, more than anything else, that evokes these action words from Jesus.
The leprosy is a clear sign of our own weaknesses and sin. It’s a clear sign of our fallen human nature and weakness. It’s a clear sign that we cannot heal ourselves. It’s a clear sign that we need the Divine Healer. When we acknowledge all of these realities and truths, we will be in a position, just like this leper, to turn to Jesus, on our knees, and beg His action in our lives.
Reflect, today, upon Jesus’ words and listen to what He is saying to you through them. Jesus wills it. Do you? And if you do, are you willing to turn to Him and ask Him to act? Are you willing to ask for and receive His will?
Lord, I do will it, I do. I acknowledge Your divine will in my life. But sometimes my will is weak and insufficient. Help me to deepen my resolve to daily turn to You, the Divine Healer, so that I may encounter Your healing power. Help me to be open to whatever Your will includes for my life. Help me to be ready and willing to accept Your action in my life. Jesus, I do trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Our Lady of Lourdes
Three great books for Lent!