Along with the physical issues of Hansen’s Disease is a psycho-social one. Lepers have been considered “unclean” by society and even today when the disease can be controlled, lepers can be shunned by their community. This was especially true in ancient times when the disease was not understood and people feared those infected. The Leper in today’s Gospel’s plea, “If you wish, you can make me clean,” is the cry of one shunned by his community and family. Being “clean” means not only being free of disease, but able to rejoin society.
Sin affects us in the same way as this disease. It has its physical effects on but the more painful property is the harm it causes our relationships with others and with God. Serious sin affects in a serious way our relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters. Only Jesus can make us clean. The Eucharist is our primary sacrament of God’s mercy, the Body and the Blood of Christ is the reality of God’s desire to make us whole, God’s blessing for each of us in the person of Christ the Healer and Redeemer.