From The Gospel of Mark by Mary Healy, reflecting on Mark 1: 40-45:
Although leprosy has been virtually wiped out in developed nations, the loneliness and social stigma attending various physical or interior afflictions–for instance, AIDS or mental illness–is as widespread as ever. Indeed, leprosy is only an outward sign of the inner uncleanness experienced by all fallen human beings. The defilement of sin often causes a deep inner shame, even when a person is not consciously aware of it, that makes a person hesitant to turn to God. But as this man’s boldness in approaching Jesus was richly rewarded, so is the prayer of all those who approach him with confidence in his cleansing power, especially through the sacrament of reconciliation. Jesus is not dismayed, scandalized, or contaminated by any human defilement. He willingly removes it by the power of his own holiness, restoring our communion with others and making us fully qualified to enter into God’s presence.