Valentine’s Day has become a secular holiday. The Church now has the memorial for Saints Cyril and Methodius on February 14. We think the original Saint Valentine lived in the fourth century. And we know that there are at least eleven more men who had the name of Saint Valentines throughout history. As February 14 is on a Sunday every seven years or so the readings of the day do not always relate to the secular theme of the day, that is a day for lovers. But we know God is love and today’s gospel has a special insight into love.
First the man with leprosy. In the first century, leprosy was just about any kind of skin disease. If the priest said you had leprosy you would not be admitted into city, you could not stay in your home, and you would be an outcast. Even if people loved you before the disease, they would not be there to help you now. People might leave you food on a rock but that did not happen very often. You really would feel isolated and not loved. The leper in today’s gospel was very courageous to come up to Jesus. He could have been killed. He was demonstrating his faith when he said, “If you will it you can heal me.” The leper knew in his heart that Jesus could heal him.
And Jesus looked at the leper with compassion and love. “I do will it”. What is even more amazing is Jesus reached out and touched the leper. This leper had probably not been touched by anyone for a long time. Now he receives the touch of God’s love, of God’s healing. God’s love is greater than any other power in this world.
Once we receive the touch of God’s love, we should be like the leper telling everyone about God. Sharing the miracle of healing with others. God made us to be imitators of Him. What we see Jesus do we are called to do the same. True, we cannot do miracles, but we can do everything else Jesus did. This is one of the reasons why God became man. God wanted to teach man how to be imitators of Jesus. Jesus would also teach us how to die. Our God came to earth to die for us. The most amazing story of love ever.
As an old commercial once said, “Reach out and touch someone.” Perhaps today remember those in our nursing homes, assisted living communities, or our hospitals. Call someone in your family who cannot or has not been out for some time. Let them know they are loved. And that you are praying for them. Make them feel special this day for lovers.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen