In that contact between Jesus’ hand and the leper, every barrier between God and human impurity, between the Sacred and its opposite, is torn down, not to deny evil and its negative power but to demonstrate that God’s love is stronger than evil, even the most contagious and horrible. Jesus took our infirmities upon himself, he made himself a “leper” so that we might be healed.

A splendid existential comment on this Gospel is the celebrated experience of St. Francis of Assisi, which he presents at the beginning of his Testament: “The Lord told to me, Friar Francis of Assisi, to begin to do penance in this way: when I was in my sins, seeing lepers seemed to me something too terrible; and the Lord himself led me among them and had mercy on them. And after I left them, what had seemed terrible to me became sweet to the soul and body. And then I stayed and left the world behind.” Jesus was present in those lepers whom Francis met when he was still “in his sins,” as he says; and when Francis drew near to one of them and, overcoming his own disgust, embraced him, Jesus healed Francis of his leprosy, that is, of his pride, and he converted him to the love of God. This is the victory of Christ, who is our profound healing and our resurrection and new life!

— Pope Benedict XVI, allocution at Sunday Angelus, 12 February 2012

Source: ZENIT.

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