LOVING GOD FOR HIMSELF

Friday after Epiphany       

            In the time of Jesus leprosy was a hideous disease without any means of prevention or cure. The incidence of leprosy has been greatly reduced in our own time because of modern medicine. Even serious cases have at least been arrested. In other words, leprosy does not pose the threat which it did in the time of Jesus. Nonetheless the cure of which we heard in today’s gospel passage is important to us, not because we may acquire leprosy, but because the episode tells us something about Jesus.

            Jesus did indeed work his cures out of a motive of compassion for the people. And yet he did not choose to end all sickness and disease during his life on this earth. What he did for people was intended to unfold gradually who he is: He is the almighty God who has come among us in our humanity.

            Charles Miller explains the implication of this by saying: “Jesus has entered into the human condition whereby he shows his feelings for our weakness and our needs.” In other words, we do not have a God who is aloof or unconcerned about our situation.

            However, Jesus wants us to respond to him not merely as a miracle worker but as a God of love. He does not want us to see him as an extraordinary doctor or physician to whom we turn only when we need him. If you think about it, the only time you see your doctor is when you are sick. Jesus does not want that kind of relationship with us.

            The Lord does not want that our relationship with him is just based on our needs and on the ‘benefits’ we get from him – that we would only approach him and beg for his mercy and ask for a miracle when desperate situation comes. Isn’t it true that sometimes we make an appointment with Dr. Jesus only when we are sick? Isn’t it true that often we treat the Lord just like an ATM machine to which we go when we need to withdraw some blessings?

            Our relationship with the Lord Jesus must be based on and motivated by love – and by love alone. We all have received many blessings from the Lord – blessings upon which we should frequently ponder. All these blessings should help us see how good God is and how much we should love him for himself.

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