Leprosy is a symbol of spiritual disease, the disease of separating ourselves from divine grace and from one another.
When I sin, it moves me to the margins, isolates me from feeling one with the community; but Christ reaches out to me, heals me and restores unity. What a tremendous gift!
This is happening within you and me more often than we may think.
Example: I was with a group of friends, one was African American. We were having a great evening of joking and playing games. Someone asked whose turn is it now? I said. I don't know. Let's see, enie mini mighty moe. And I stopped dead in my tracks. I could not believe I had begun to utter such a hateful, degrading, and dehumanizing rhyme, not spoken by me since my childhood some 70 years ago.
The seeds of leprous thought linger deep within. When we look inside and find hurtful, imperfect, sinful areas, which separate us from Christ and His people, we need to stop and stand in that spiritual distance, that no man’s land, acknowledge the stark reality we know all too well because we have been there before, and call out "Jesus, Master, have mercy."
He gives us a way, a path for being cured: He said: "Go and show yourselves to the priests." Jesus provides a means of receiving his healing graces; it’s the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where the priest represents both the merciful Christ and the whole community which is hurt by our sinfulness.
The more we see Christ within others, the more we are able to acknowledge how we hurt others. Then in asking for mercy, healing can take place. This Gospel is asking us to be the one in ten who returns to Christ to say thank you for healing me.