Wednesday, January 13, 2016

You Make Me Clean

By Beth DeCristofaro

The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated; every man fled to his own tent. It was a disastrous defeat, in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were among the dead. (Samuel 4:10-11)

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.”  (Mark 1:40-41)

Lord, if you wish you can make me clean.  Help me to “Act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with you, my God.” (From Micah 6:8)

It’s chilling, this passage from Samuel.  It is a disturbing tale of death, destruction and hopelessness even though God’s Ark was present on the field of battle. And it is in such contrast to the hopeful story of Hannah we have been reading and Jesus’ healing of a second leper.  Yes, God said to Hannah, I will make from your despair and your faith an instrument to save my People.  Yes, Jesus said to the leper, because of your faith I will save you from a life of pain and desolation.  Later in the book of Samuel God speaks to Hannah’s son, by now the prophet Samuel, and explains that the Chosen People have given up on God which is why God’s favor has left them.  But Samuel will provide for them a king, selected by God, to begin bringing them back to reacceptance of the covenant.

The people thought they needed a king. God gave them a king. Hannah and the lepers knew they needed God.  God healed them, drawing them closer to Himself. 

In what ways do we think we know what we need?  Our country is strong and wealthy compared to most of the world.  Take stock of our own lives and see what we have provided for ourselves rather than trusting and giving our prayers of plenty and prayers of anguish to God for answer.  This month is Poverty Awareness Month.  Explore opportunities to live in solidarity with the poor as you spend prayer time with God exploring your own poverty which is a doorway opening to a closer relationship with God.

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