All things are clean

Daily Reading for February 16

And why did Jesus touch the leper, since the law forbade the touching of a leper? He touched him to show that “all things are clean to the clean.” Because the filth that is in one person does not adhere to others, nor does external uncleanness defile the clean of heart. So he touches him in his untouchability, that he might instruct us in humility; that he might teach us that we should despise no one, or abhor them, or regard them as pitiable, because of some wound of their body or some blemish for which they might be called to render an account. . . . So, stretching forth his hand to touch, the leprosy immediately departs. The hand of the Lord is found to have touched not a leper, but a body made clean! Let us consider here, beloved, if there be anyone here that has the taint of leprosy in his soul, or the contamination of guilt in his heart? If he has, instantly adoring God, let him say: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”

From Origen’s Fragments on Matthew, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament II, Mark, edited by Thomas C. Oden and Christopher A. Hall (Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998).

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