From today's Gospel (Mark 1:40-45):
'A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees: ‘If you want to’ he said ‘you can cure me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!’ he said. ‘Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once and he was cured.'
What does Jesus do in order to heal the leper? He touches him. Touching a leper would have been unthinkable in those days. Lepers were left on the margins of society, devoid of any social benefits, adrift of family and friends and, crucially, without love.
Yet here is Love itself. Unconditional love. Real love. True love.
Jesus' love is not the kind of love we are accustomed to in our society. It is a love for everyone; no matter what you may have done, no matter what you may believe. Our love today is fraught with cynicism and riddled with conditions. How often do we say that we love someone and then proceed to add a 'but'? With Jesus there is never a 'but'.
Jesus, his arms stretched on the Cross, is a sign to everyone that his love is for everyone. Not one person is excluded from his love.
When we love someone, we should aspire to love as Jesus loved. He did, after all, tell us that this is how we should love. So, whenever we say that we love someone (and we should love everyone!), try not to add in a 'but'. Try to be positive about all of the people around you. Remember that Jesus loves them as much as he loves you and he would die again for them.
Make your love unconditional and reach out to all, especially those in most need. Never be afraid to throw your arms around someone as a sign of love. Jesus' arms were nailed to the Cross so that ours could be free to hold others in his love.