It’s an act of confidence that invites Our Lord to act
Today’s Gospel recounts the story of the leper who approached Jesus with a simple prayer: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”
Pope Francis, in his homily at Casa Santa Marta, said this prayer, which is an act of trust, is a prayer that “gets God’s attention.”
“It is a challenge,” the Holy Father reflected, “but also an act of confidence: I know that He can do it, and so I entrust myself to Him.” The leper, he explained, made this prayer because he had seen that Jesus acted with compassion.
Compassion involves itself. It comes from the heart and gets involved, and it leads you to do something. Compassion is “suffering with,” taking the suffering of another person upon yourself in order to resolve it, to heal it. And this was the mission of Jesus. Jesus did not come to preach the law and then leave. Jesus came in compassion, that is, to suffer with and for us and to give us life itself. The love of Jesus is so great that compassion led Him precisely to the Cross, to give His life.
Francis suggested that we often repeat this little prayer — “if you will” — throughout the day, because Jesus is a God of compassion, who involves himself in our sorrows, in the problems of others.
“Lord, if you will, you can heal me; if you will, you can forgive me; if you will, you can help me.” Or, if you want, [you can make it] a little longer: “Lord, I am a sinner, have mercy on me, have compassion on me.” A simple prayer that can be said many times a day. “Lord, I, a sinner, ask you: have mercy on me.” Many times a day, inwardly, from the heart, without saying it out loud: “Lord, if you will, you can; if you will, you can. Have compassion on me.” Repeat this.
The leper, with his simple and “miraculous” prayer, was able to obtain healing thanks to the compassion of Jesus, who loves us despite our sinfulness, the pope reflected.
Jesus is not ashamed of us. “O Father, I am a sinner, how can I say this?…” [That’s even] better! For He came precisely for us sinners, and the greater a sinner you are, the closer the Lord is to you, for He has come for you, the greatest sinner; for me, the greatest sinner; for all of us.
Let us make a habit of repeating this prayer, always: “Lord, if you will, you can do it. If you will, you can do it,” with confidence that the Lord is close to us; and with His compassion, He will take upon Himself our problems, our sins, our inner diseases, everything.