Have you ever had a child ask you to help them with something? Maybe it was to tie their shoe, pour a glass of milk, give them a push on the swing. In that moment, didn’t it make you feel like the most important person in the world? What was the child thinking and feeling? Were they proud to be your grandson or niece or neighbor? Did they feel more loved because you helped them?
Sometimes the things we do for people are the best ways we can show them how we really feel. We are happy to do it, because we want to be able to show it. Why else would someone actually want to help pay for something, or fix someone’s car, or help with their homework? We want to do these things because we want to show them that love, we want to demonstrate what we can’t quite put into words.
When the man approached Jesus in today’s Gospel, he asked Him to cure the leprosy that was killing him. In that moment, we see God personally reaching out to show His Love for us. We also see a man giving God the greatest praise anyone could give in that position – he asked for something impossible for him, but easy for God. This man recognized Jesus’ divinity, and the power he wielded, and asked for something he could never ask an ordinary person. He asked God for a simple favor, in complete confidence that God could, and that He wanted to cure him.
That may, on some level, seem a bit needy or selfish. We certainly shouldn’t always be asking God for everything; our relationship should be more than that. But let us not forget that God tried for many generations to tell us about the Love He has for us. We didn’t really understand until He became one of us. Then, in person, Jesus showed us the Love that couldn’t be expressed in words. Now we get it, because this is the best way we can understand love, through action. Let us not forget it, nor ever forget, that we are called to carry this on. So, give a hug, tie a shoe, cook somebody a meal, show up at a funeral. Be Christ’s body to the ones around you.