COR THOUGHTS 242: Our Need for Touch

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In the Gospel this weekend, we read that a “leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, ‘If you wish, you can make me clean’” (Mk 1:40). As we learn in the first reading, lepers were forced to make their “abode outside the camp.” Imagine the isolation. Imagine the rejection. And, because people of the time believed such diseases were the result of a person’s sinfulness, imagine the sense of shame a leper felt. The cry of this leper’s heart compelled him to break the cultural taboos and come to Jesus. “Moved with pity, [Jesus] stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, ‘I do will it. Be made clean.’” Imagine that touch. Lepers were never touched. Jesus heals us with his body touching our body. There are places in my own heart that are leprous. Places I feel isolated and rejected. Places I hide because I’m ashamed of them. Places that I can’t imagine anyone would want to “touch.” Am I willing to break whatever taboos keep me from coming, kneeling, and begging Jesus to touch me there? Jesus, I desperately need to know the power of your loving touch. Touch me. Please. Touch me.