A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 1: 40-45
A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
REFLECTION: "he stretched out his hand, touched the leper"
Just last week we heard this same Gospel according to Luke. Our Mother Church finds it necessary to repeat the message of this Gospel. How comforted we are when we receive a hug--ask any grandparent , parent, spouse, uncle or aunt, brother or sister--that physical contact of touching opens up a whole array of emotions and feelings. This is especially true when little arms are wrapped around your neck.
Imagine a life sentence of never being touched. Some people are in prison, isolated from love and the human emotion of being loved. They are constantly yelled at, pushed around, avoided, and repeatedly affirmed that they are not wanted nor would their passing be of any consequence to anyone. Good riddance!!
In the autobiography of Henri Charriere, known as Papillon, we see the effects of mistreatment, horrific actions and years of solitary confinement in a small concrete cell. He lived in total darkness. He fought against his wanting to give up and die. He eventually escaped to freedom. What cruelty man can do!!
The leper was treated in much the same way. Lepers were not shown the light of mercy or compassion; they did live in total emotional and spiritual darkness of no love, no human touch. The law forbade touching lepers, and so the lepers lived in total isolation. But "He stretched out his hand, touched the leper." Nothing is impossible with God. Through this simple touch, God spoke volumes to the lepers with love and compassion.
In this Ordinary time we live for the Holy Spirit to become one in us and live in our very being. Reach out and touch someone.