Mark 1: 40-45
A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched him, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning the him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
He said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
This is the Gospel for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, just a few days before Lent begins.
Before you gloss over this story as just another time that Jesus cured someone who was sick, you might want to take another look at the language in this scripture passage from the Gospel of Mark.
Some things to note:
- The leper approaches Jesus directly. At the time lepers were ostracized. They also announced their sickness by saying, “Unclean! Unclean!” This man does neither of these things. In fact, he does the opposite of this!
- The leper also declares and knows that Jesus can heal him. He doesn’t really ask for healing, he says Jesus can do it. Very aggressive and confident of him!
- Jesus touches the leper. Anyone who would touch a leper at this time would be considered unclean themselves. They were now at risk for getting leprosy themselves.
The leper goes out and tells everyone publicly what has happened to him. He evangelizes!
Father Robert Barron over at WordonFire.org for this gospel and I thought it worthy to share. Give it a listen when you have a few minutes. It will make you look at this gospel in a whole new way.
Fit In Your Faith Today: Who are you in this story of Jesus and leper? Are you the one who feels like you need healing, looking in from the outside? Or are you someone who people come to for help? Do you answer that call for help or do you turn away? Do you treat them as if they were “unclean?” How can you be an example of the Christian community and show them respect and even help them if they need “healing?”