Devotional Thoughts for the Sunday of Lepers (2nd Sunday of Great Lent) 22nd Feb 2015

Reading: From the Gospel according to St. Luke 5: 12- 16, 4; 40-41
Dear and Respected Brethren,

By the Grace of God Almighty we are entering the second week of the
Great Lent of this year and we start with the Sunday which is referred
as the Lepers’ Sunday.
The importance of the miracle is not in the person who was healed, or
the place where he was healed or the way in which he was healed. We
all know from the first verse of today’s reading that a man full of
leprosy had an opportunity to present himself to our Lord and to
request our Lord for His favorable intervention. Let us listen to St.
Luke’s description of the opportunity: “And it came to pass when he
was to a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus
fell on his face and besought him, saying, Lord, if you will, you can
make me clean.” The way in which he had presented his need is super
and unique. The first thing is his way of presentation of his need is
significant. He fell on his face means he had presented his body
entirely on the feet of Lord Jesus. In Malayalam he had a sashtanga
pranamam, a worship using eight parts of the body.  Our Kumbideel is
based on this principle and we are obliged to have Kumbideel several
times during our Lenten prayers.

Secondly he prayed, Lord, if you will, you can make me clean. This is
the real style of Christian prayer. The leper was confident that the
Lord was able to cure him though his disease was so severe and
serious. Still he gave prominence for God’s will. The leaders of the
so called prayer groups who try to increase the number of their groups
always tempt the members of the Episcopal Churches with an invitation:
“come and see what is happening in our prayer meetings. One who come
and attend our prayer meetings would get everything that they need.”
One who might complain that there are no prayers for the needs among
the faithful in our Church must realize what is to be prayed and how
to be prayed. Today’s reading is a great experience for all of us. We
must realize the basic theme of it. While praying for our needs, let
us not give importance for the need, or the depth and width in the
human assessment, whereas we are obliged to give prominence to the
will of God. From the leper let us learn the following:

a)    How to pray. We must present our entire body before His feet,
and we must do prostration. (Kumbideel) Our forefathers were so
particular to make the prostration during all prayers other than the
days which are marked by the Holy Church not to make the prostration.
Let us think ourselves and find out our own approach to this great
teaching. We must practice and enjoy the satisfaction we might
achieve. It is true that unless and until we might not practice, we
would not realize the great spiritual satisfaction from doing so.
b)    We must pray for our personal needs by giving due importance
and prominence to God’s will. Let us not project our needs above God’s
will. Let us keep our needs subject to God’s will. Our God Almighty is
so kind, benevolent and compassionate. But it does not grant freedom
to misuse it and to present our needs in a compelling manner, without
seeking the will of God. All of us must make sure that God Almighty
will not do any harm for us and He will not ignore us. We could ask
for His will again and again. We should not forget the truth that we
need the maximum compassion from God for the remission and forgiveness
of our sins. Let us pray for the same as much times as we could. The
Lenten prayers are focusing on the forgiveness of God against our
c)    Let us pray for the complete cleaning of our body and mind.
Let us also uphold the prayer of St. Peter at the time of washing the
feet of the Apostles, He prayed: He beseeched our Lord to wash not
only his feet, but also his head and hands. Let it be our prayer
always. Washing of the feet stands for the Holy Confession in the Holy
Church. The Holy Church insists that one who has been baptized once
need not be baptized again. It is based on our Lord Jesus’ blessed
words: “He that is washed need not save to wash his feet but is clean
every whit.” (St. John 13: 10) The Holy Church teaches to have holy
confession at least once in every forty days. Are we serious about
having regular confessions? Let us think and find the answer.
We need to have cent percent repentance, leaving away all our selfish
desires and long for the complete cleaning of our mind, body and
spirit. The Lenten prayers give due importance for repentance and
sanctification. We should not forget the fact that sanctification is
the mercy of God without barriers. It is the will of God Almighty and
He could clean any one at any time. We usually classify people around
us as good and bad. It is God who could convert the bad or the evil
ones much better than many of us.
As soon as our Lord heard the poor Leper’s plea and supplication, He
put forth his hand and touched and said, “I will, be thou clean.” We
must long to hear such a blessed word from our Lord God. If we were
there, we would have murmured: “Jesus is not going to cure him. He
might not even listen to him. The leper is crying in vain,” Surprising
all the ones who had ill feeling towards the leper, who rushed himself
to the presence of Lord Jesus, ignoring the social restrictions, our
Lord touched him and cleaned him free and completely. Our Lord made
only one condition to show himself to the priest. Our Lord insisted
him to have a true confession.

We are again and again reminded by our Lord to present ourselves to
the Priest and to have a meaningful and apt confession. When a
faithful would kneel before a priest for a touching and meaningful
confession, our Lord would surely make him or her clean for all sorts
of sins and iniquities. Let us realize the greatness of the sacrament
of confession and let us make use of it. Many of us misunderstand the
meaning of it and a few insist for the annual confession. In the Holy
Church there is no permanent arrangement of annual confession. The
sacrament is meant for the faithful when he or she feels the need, and
realizes that he or she is far aloof from God. There is no time
restriction for this sacrament. The Holy Church insists that her
children must have the confession at least once in forty days, unless
he or she feels the need to have the same before the due time. Let’s
repent well and have confession and attain the forgiveness for our

May God bless us all.

Jose Kurian Puliyeril