Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46; Ps 32:1-2, 5, 11; 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1; 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1
Were you healed last weekend with the remembrance of St. Blaise and his healing intercession? Let us know.
This is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time before Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, February 14th. As St. Mark ends Chapter One, he tells a thrilling story of a poor leper who came to Jesus for healing.
In Biblical times there were no hospitals, with doctors, nurses, or nurses aids or drug stores with lots of meds. Within Israel and among its neighbors, leprosy covered a broad spectrum of skin diseases. The reference is to various dermatological curable illness associated with skin disorders.
The stigma of leprosy
The afflicted person went to the local rabbi (priest), for a physical examination and diagnosis, not for prayer or a cure. The underlying principle was religious, not medical. While the illness continued, the customary signs of religious and social stigma were to be clearly evident with torn clothes, long flowing hair, covered beard and the warning cry “unclean.” The person was to live apart from town for fear of contamination.
This background makes the leper gospel story. A poor outcast, who had obviously heard about Jesus, went to him, kneeling with great respect. He asked for a cure. Jesus, moved with compassion for the man, stretched out sis hand and touched the man. “I do will it. Be cured.” The man’s skin was cleared immediately. As with many of Mark’s healing stories, Jesus told him,
Not a word to anyone, go show yourself to the priest and offer for your cure what Moses prescribed. That should be a proof for them.
What would you do?
If you were healed like that and able to go back to society, would you keep it quiet? The man went off proclaiming it everywhere. That made it difficult for Jesus to enter a town openly. People kept coming to Jesus from everywhere. This is one of the ways that Jesus became so popular. Amen. Alleluia!
Jesus continues to heal us today through the sacraments, especially receiving communion at Mass. Reflect on our parishes, schools, hospitals, missionary endeavors and other ways all over the world.
Commissioned by Jesus
Jesus said, as St. Mark records at the end of his gospel,
Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved…. These signs will accompany those who believe: in My Name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages…. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mk 16:15b-18.}
We are Christians because other believers have told us about this wonderful Jesus and the church he founded to continue his work all over the world. Because we are frail, weak and sinful beings, not perfect yet, we may often make mistakes. God is still working in, around and through us to bring the good news about Jesus to others. If we need more, go to Jesus and his church for more.
Pray some each day, or go visit a Catholic, Byzantine or Orthodox church or chapel. Find the tabernacle. If there is a light next to it you know “Jesus is at home there.” Spend a little time talking with Jesus and listen to him. Let him radiate you with more of his love, healing and power. God’s graces will never end.
Have a blessed week and Lent,
- Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2018 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)