Appearing in all three synoptic Gospels, the cleansing of the leper story reminds us to intentionally ask for and trust in Jesus’ power of healing. This diseased man, isolated and shunned, kneels in reverence and asks Jesus to make him clean “if you wish.” He trusts that Jesus knows what he needs.

When Jesus stretches out his hand and touches him, what happens is more than an absence of illness; he is healthy enough to return to society and interact (not wisely) with his community and those “abroad.” While the cured leper has faith that Jesus will clean and restore him, he trusts Jesus to do as he wishes.

St. Ignatius taught us that our intent has great power, especially as we begin to pray. What part of us—our addictions, our lapses, our insensitivity—could use a healing touch? Will I live in the power of hope, the unwavering belief in Jesus’ healing that this leper exemplifies?

—Charlotte Ahern is a wife and mother of three college-aged children. She is also a spiritual director and retreat leader at Jesuit schools in the Chicago-area.