Feb 122015

By Fr. Andrew Kelly


The Season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Believers are confronted by the leper in Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 1:40-45.) Before the leper approached Jesus for cleansing, the leper had to admit helplessness in being made clean. The leper with faith had to initiate the move toward Jesus: “If you (Jesus) choose, you can make me clean.”

As Lent begins, believers are the leper acknowledging helplessness in living Jesus’ ways. Therefore remaining unclean. The Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are how believers approach Jesus in faith: “If you (Jesus) choose, you can make me clean.”

Cleansing begins for believers through daily prayerful listening to Jesus in the Scriptures. Believers’ uncleanliness is touched by Jesus through sacramental celebrations of reconciliation and Eucharist.

Through prayerful silence and stillness with Scripture and sacrament, if willing to do the discipline, believers experience Jesus’ healing cleansing: “I do choose. Be made clean!”

Ash Wednesday is decision day. For the six weeks of Lent, how serious are believers about dealing with their helplessness and unfaithfulness in living Jesus’ ways? How willing to pray, fast and do alms? How willing to approach the risen Jesus? “If you (Jesus) choose, you can make me clean.”

(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)

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