The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the 12th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 8:1-4.

Having completed His proclamation of the New Covenant from a mountaintop in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7), Christ now descends down the mountain and performs 10 miracles, vanquishing sin, disease, demons and even death (Matt 8:1-9:38). Everywhere Christ goes, huge crowds follow and react in amazement to His preaching and healing.

Leprosy is a devastating illness (though curable today) that ravages the bodies of lepers with sores and disfiguration. Worse, since leprosy made a man “unclean” by Jewish law (Lev 13-14) and was contagious, lepers were outcasts who were forced to live outside of cities, shut out from the covenant life of Israel. Despite his stigma, the man with leprosy boldly breaks through the crowd, kneels before Christ and professes in faith that Christ can heal him, saying, “Lord, if You will, you can make me clean.” Christ, purposefully breaking Jewish purity laws and completely unafraid of being personally exposed to leprosy, touches the man, and simply and powerfully says, “I will. Be cleaned.” It is a stupendous, unprecedented miracle; the leper is healed.

In a prefigurement of how the Sacrament of Reconciliation draws the sinner back into full community with the Body of Christ through the intercession of a priest, Christ invites the healed man back into full communion with Israel, telling him to follow the prescribed Jewish laws of cleansing overseen by a priest (Lev 14).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ is Divine Mercy incarnate and is the Perfection of Virtue. Divine Physician, Christ has the omniscience and omnipotence to supernaturally heal any sickness. Divine Priest, Christ prefigures the Sacrament of Confession and emphasizes the need for priests.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men often fail to be awed by Christ’s miracles because they fail to think deeply. Look at images of leprosy on the internet and realize that Christ healed the leper instantaneously. Be awed by Christ’s supernatural power.

2) The leper is the first to call Christ “Lord” in Mathew’s Gospel, a profound reflection on Christ’s true identity as God. Review the background on Christ’s identity as Lord (CCC 446-451) and pray for Christ to fill you with awe and obedience as you call Him “Lord.”

3)  Jesus Christ is the perfection of manly virtue (from the Latin, vir, meaning man), fearlessly touching a leper despite Jewish prohibitions. Review the Catechism’s teaching about Virtue (CCC 1803-1845) and pray for Christ to help you grow in virtue.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ

Virtue of the Day – Faith

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries