Advent 21: Beggars

We look down on beggars. We figure that they are people who couldn’t get control of themselves, who couldn’t find socially acceptable ways to live. We ignore them if we can. We turn our eyes away. We drop a quarter in the bucket at Christmas, hoping that the beggar with the bell will stop ringing in our hearts.

The beggar in the middle of Luke 5, however, wasn’t an ordinary beggar. He had leprosy. He was shut off from normal human contact. He had to tell people to stay away. He had lost relationship, was losing his body, and was on his way to losing his life.

When this man was begging, he wasn’t asking for a few coins to get a beer, he was asking for his life. Literally. He had no hope for ever being without disease again. And so he was begging for Jesus to heal him.

And his begging wasn’t linked to Jesus’ capacity to heal him. “If you are willing,” he said, “you can make me clean.” He knew Jesus could. He asked if Jesus would.

i want that to be true of me. I want to trust his capacity, even while uncertain of his willingness. Especially when his will and my desire differ.

The healing I really want? A healing of desire. Since that’s what often is most diseased.

(From Luke 5:12-15)

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