Lessons For Us In How To Ask Jesus For Help

Thursday of Week 1 in Ordinary Time - Cycle I

Heb. 3:7-14 & Mk. 1:40-45

Today’s first reading quotes Psalm 95 with its warning to us not to be like those Jews in the wilderness who were disgruntled with God because of their hunger and thirst. But He had worked wonders to bring them out of Egypt. Should they not have trusted Him to care for them and bring them safely into the land that He had promised? Obviously they had not allowed the word of God to penetrate their hardened hearts and, as a result, had lost God’s favour and were not given the privilege of entering the Promised Land.

In stark contrast in the Gospel is the approach and attitude of the leper to Jesus. His faith could not have been more different from those Jews in the desert. You could say that he had every reason to be disgruntled with life because of the dreadful disease he had to endure. Instead he approached Jesus with such reverence. He was aware of the power Jesus had, that if it were His will, he could be cured. His heart was certainly not hardened in approaching the Lord. Jesus could not refuse such a request.

But he did fail the Lord when he was cured by disobeying Jesus’ stern command, “Mind you say nothing to anyone.” He found this too difficult and I don’t blame him – imagine the excitement at his cure. Jesus had given him a new lease of life. He could now return to his family and presumably his work, and visit the synagogue. Who could blame him wanting to tell everyone the good that Jesus had done to him? Obviously Jesus knew it would have been better for him to remain silent and ponder on the goodness God had shown him, just like Our Lady had done when she received the stupendous news that she was to be the mother of God’s Son. There are moments when silence really is golden!

What are we to learn from the two very different readings? We are being taught how to approach Jesus. Like the Jews in the wilderness and the leper, we too have our problems of one sort or another. They may not be physical hunger and thirst nor a disease like leprosy, but we need Jesus’ help in many aspects of our lives.

Jesus, may we never be disgruntled or distrust You, but approach You with the reverence of the leper. “Jesus, if You want to, You can help me.” We never know what wonders You will work for us if we worship You and have the courage to trust in You.