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Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Gen. 17:1, 9-10, 15-22 & Mt. 8:1-4

People who knew Abraham were amazed to see him swell with pride in looking at an infant born to him when he was 99 years old. They were even more amazed to know that Sarah his wife, aged 90, had become a mother! Today we would say that such a thing is impossible. And that is the point. It was out of the realm of possibility for Abraham and Sarah to become parents at their age. The conception and birth of their child, Isaac, was so obviously God’s special work that anyone should have seen clearly that this little boy had a special destiny from God.

Isaac was to become the father of the 12 tribes of Israel, from one of which, Judah, would come the Messiah. His birth would be even more clearly the work of God for He would be the eternal Son of God born in time of a virgin.

God wants us to know that He is the One who works out our salvation which is not something we can do for ourselves, any more than in the ordinary course of nature an elderly couple can become parents or a virgin can give birth to a child. We are completely in the hands of God and should be grateful that we are not the ones who must accomplish our own salvation.

The good news which Jesus brought was like a light shining in a darkened world, enabling people to relate to God in a totally new way. This is demonstrated in today’s Gospel when a leper approaches Jesus in a humble and hesitant manner. He believes that Jesus has the power to cure him but he leaves it to His discretion. “Of course I want to!" Jesus exclaims and the man is immediately cured.

Sometimes, when life seems full of problems and setbacks, we may be tempted to think that God does not care. Some people might even think that they are being punished by God for some misdemeanour. At such times we must remember this story of the leper and the fact that God's love never fails. He knows all our troubles, He cares about them and He wants to help us. Of course He wants to! That is why we should never stand back from God in fear, but turn to Him trustingly, as a child turns to his or her father.

Lord Jesus, may we learn from this leper to approach You in prayer as he did. “If it is Your will.” We can then be assured that if it is for Your glory and our good You will give us that for which we pray.

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