In the Holy land back then, leprosy was viewed as a double hardship. It was a serioues disease that ate away the leper’s flesh; but it was also a spiritual uncleanness that barred the sufferer from entering the synagogue or the temple, and from taking part in any community gatherings
It is significant that the leper did not ask Jesus .to make him healthy, but to make him spiritually clean, entitling him to enter the synagogue with family and friends.
Chapter Nine of John’s Gospel tells the charming story of the man born blind. It took place on the Jewish Sabbath that went from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.
Our school kids put on a play about the market people packing away their wares in preparation for beginning their Sabbath in the synagogue. At the same time, they were telling the man born blind that his blindness made him too unclean to enter the synagogue.
The kids playing the people of the marketplace sang this song,
“The synagogue becomes our home, when the sun sinks out of sight, the last day of the weary week, Holy Sabbath, Friday night.”
After people had entered the synagogue, leaving the man alone outside, he saw Jesus coming, and he ran up to him, asking him not to cure him but to make him clean.
The story should awaken us to the joys open to us when we come together sharing our graces.