"I do will it. Be made clean." Mk 1:42
Miracles can distract us, and sometimes this is good. Many times, when I have been feeling heavy burdened and confused, the late afternoon light and the subsequent sunset have distracted me and reminded me of God's glory. Light has always fascinated me and fills me with hope. Though not a miracle on the order of the cure of the leprosy, the wonder of nature fills us with awe.
Miracles can also distract us from the deeper message, and today's gospel is one of those times when this can happen. A leper, falling to his knees, begs Jesus to heal him. In the ancient world, lepers lived on the edges of the society. Because their disease, which was thought to be communicable, frightened and alarmed people, the law demanded that they keep their distance even from their families and friends. What could be worse! With no one around except other lepers, life was lonely and empty.
When Jesus heals the leper we can be distracted from the gospel itself. If people are attracted to Jesus because of his "spectacular gifts," they risk missing the essence of his teaching. Jesus did not come to cure lepers, but to announce hope for all and the coming of Gods' reign. The healing miracles are a sign of God's love and power, not the Good News itself.
Today's gospel challenges us not to seek or be distracted by the spectacular. It is not the occasional "home runs" we hit, but the daily willingness to walk together in faith and love as a sign of God's transforming power that marks the Christian life. Only when, rooted in the security of God's love, we open ourselves to everything and everyone that comes our way, are we authentic witnesses to the gospel. It is our peacefulness, despite the struggles that come to all of us, that attracts others to the God who is our life.
Today, don't be distracted by miracles. Be the miracle.