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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus heals a leper. In our sickness, our weakness, our shame, our sin, our oddness, many of us feel like this leper. We feel as though we’re just not worthy, that we should keep our distance. 

That the leper came to Jesus tells us the world about this man’s courage, determination, and perhaps his desperation. He was an outsider, a despised figure—yet he came to Jesus.

Once in the Lord’s presence, the leper “did him homage”—he worshiped him. The suffering man realizes who Jesus is: not one prophet among many but the Incarnation of the God of Israel, the only one before whom worship is the appropriate attitude. Whatever trouble we are in, we have to come to Jesus in the attitude of worship. He is the Lord and we are not. This is the key step in getting our lives in order: right praise.

Then comes the beautiful phrase, essential in any act of petitionary prayer: “If you wish, you can make me clean.” He is not demanding; he is acknowledging the lordship of Jesus, his sovereignty. “Thy will be done” is always the right attitude in any prayer.