In our first reading today from 2 Kings 25, we read about more sad days for the children of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar surrounds Jerusalem with his army and besieges it for nearly two years. As the Babylonian army enters the city, Zedekiah, the king of Judah, escapes. He is hunted down, his sons slain in front of him and he is sent off to Babylon. Such was also the fate of most all the remaining children of Israel in Jerusalem. Their exile had begun.
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 8, Jesus comes down from the mountain after giving the Sermon on the Mount. He is approached by a leper who says to Him, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus touches him andÂ responds, “I will do it. Be made clean.” HIs leprosy was cleansed immediately. There is one often forgotten aspect to this story. It must have taken a lot of guts for the leper to approach Jesus. Lepers were outcasts, literally. They had to live apart from the rest of society. They were shamed into submission.
This leper had to overcome his shame and fear and the societal mores of the time to approach Jesus. We can learn a great lesson from him. Sometimes, especially when we get stuck into patterns of sin, we can let shame keep us from asking for the healing that we so desperately want and need. We become so ashamed of ourselves that we don’t even want God to know. I believe that this is what keeps so many away from the Sacrament of Confession. Pray about this. Ask God to help you overcome your shame, and bask in His healing love.
Father, you know that so many of your children are crippled by shame. Help us to get past the shame of our sins, and to reach out to you for our healing. Amen.