At one point or another, many of us would experience some kind of doubt about our worthiness. For some of us, we can occasionally feel unsure of our capacity to do a job well. There are also those of us who are unconvinced that another person would genuinely like us if they knew everything about us. And so, we keep the so-called undesirable parts of us hidden. We are unsure if we are indeed lovable.
For us faithful, today’s Gospel provides some very convincing evidence that God’s love for us is beyond our own valuations of our worth. It is a reminder that there is such a thing as unconditional love, and God willingly gives it to us. We only need to be open to this grace that is freely given.
In order to open ourselves up to this grace of unconditional love, we need to follow the example of the leper in the Gospel. When he learned that Jesus was coming his way, he did not let the shame of his condition get in the way of asking for what he needed. And yet, he was not so bold as to assume that he deserved Jesus’ healing attention. Instead, he humbled himself and bowed down to the ground. Only with this emptying of himself did he say, “Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean.” He expressed what he wanted Jesus to do for him, and yet he showed his openness to whatever outcome his request might bring about. He put his life totally in God’s hands.
Not surprisingly, the story continues with Jesus saying, “Yes, I want to. Be clean.” This is proof that He really accepts us unconditionally. This is the experience of encountering Jesus. Even if we do not get what we originally asked for, He surely makes things right for us.
To what extent are we able to empty ourselves to God in this way? The invitation of today’s readings is for us to just this. He knows our faults and failings, and our doubts of worthiness even before we recognize them. We then need to let go of our own desires and seek the grace to accept His will for us.