It’s just one jeepney ride away from one my best friend’s house. As I rode a jeepney on my way to spend the rest of Maundy Thursday with my friends, I saw an old woman inside the said vehicle. She wasn’t like any ordinary woman though. Upon observing her, I saw that she has these deep lesions and protruding scabs. It might be outrageous to claim when you are in the streets of Manila, but from the looks of her wounds it seems like she has leprosy. Clumps and gobs of flesh distorted her face. Oozing wounds replace most of her fingernails. Whatever was left of her nails we’re either deformed or full of dirt from her constant scratching. There were also patches of what looked like skin ulcers. The rest of her skin which didn’t have the wounds were either scaly, slimy or had skin flapping out.
“Thanks Bob!” I hear you say with a hint of sarcasm. “You just heightened my craving for Fajitas” You continued.
I have to apologize, but I had to vividly describe this woman and her condition. As for me, it gave me a myriad of emotions seeing her in that situation. Though I had compassion for the woman, I must confess that my emotions were mostly filled by disgust, disapproval, nausea and plain revulsion. I can barely look at her, but I had no choice since she sat right in front of me.
After a that five-to-seven-minutes-or-so trip, (which seemed like forever) I had to alight the jeep and walk to my destination. As I started walking, and reflecting on what I just saw, God began a conversation in my head.
“That woman you saw, you couldn’t take a long good look at her, can you?” asked God.
“Why’d You allow that to happen to her Dad?” I questioned.
“My thoughts are not your thoughts.” He replied
Then I said “Sorry… wrong question.”
He then said “How’d you feel seeing her like that?”
“To be completely honest, instead of having compassion to her, I might’ve veered into the ‘utter disgust’ and ‘nausea’ part of my emotions.” I said.
“That’s alright son. I was expecting that from you.” He said. ”You see son, that’s how I Am to people with sin.” He followed through.
“Are you disgusted with people?” I asked.
“No!!! Definitely not. I’m disgusted with the leprosy of these people.” He said.
“I take it that You were referring to sin then?” I asked.
“Yes.” He sighed. “I love humanity. I love people like how I love you son.” He smiled while His hand messed my hair. “It’s just that I can’t stand sin. I hate sin. I don’t want sin near Me. It has no place where I’m present.” He said clutching His other hand.
“Since man acquired this sickness, I had to distance Myself from them. I can barely look at them in that state. It was an utterly disgusting disease. On the other hand, I also know that humanity is helpless. He can’t cure himself. So that’s why I had to send my Son, Jesus, to cure them. That way, I can be present in their lives. That way, I can be with my people again.” He narrated.
“Whew…” I gasped.
“Why?” God asked.
“It must be difficult to cure us huh?” I asked looking for more answers.
“To cure people, Jesus had to take the sickness away and die with it.” God said, with a hint of sadness.
“Thank You Jesus… Thank you…” I almost cried saying.
Luke 5:12-13 [NIV]
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 13Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
Isaiah 53:5 [NIV]
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.