Fr Paul Gooley reads today’s Gospel from Mark (1: 40-45) in which a leper appeals to Jesus saying, ‘If you want to, you can cure me.’ Fr Paul says Mark in this Gospel shows the warmth of Jesus’ humanity and his concern for the leper. The leper had no right even to approach Jesus, but he must have felt that he would get a favourable response. As the Gospel tells us, Jesus, indeed, ‘felt sorry for him’ but this is a weak translation; the Greek is far stronger about how Jesus felt: Jesus ‘was gutted’; Jesus felt the leper’s plight to the very depths of his being. Then Jesus does the unthinkable, he stretches out his hand and touches the leper. This made Jesus ritually impure, and it also risked him being infected. There have been, over time, repetitions of this brave and heartfelt gesture, such as Francis of Assisi kissing a leper’s hand. One can imagine the awestruck horror of the bystanders at this outrageous expression of love and sympathy. Jesus’ whole-hearted emotional involvement with the leper really stands out for us. Mindful of this, Fr Paul says we might ask ourselves…What would I risk to help others?