Gospel Reflection: Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading I

Lv 13:1-2, 44-46

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron,
“If someone has on his skin a scab or pustule or blotch
which appears to be the sore of leprosy,
he shall be brought to Aaron, the priest,
or to one of the priests among his descendants.
If the man is leprous and unclean,
the priest shall declare him unclean
by reason of the sore on his head.

“The one who bears the sore of leprosy
shall keep his garments rent and his head bare,
and shall muffle his beard;
he shall cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’
As long as the sore is on him he shall declare himself unclean,
since he is in fact unclean.
He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp.”


Mk 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 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.

In today’s readings, we are confronted with the profound reality of a leper, both in the Old and New Testaments.

In the First Reading, God commands Moses and Aaron to label those with leprosy as unclean, setting them apart from the rest of society. This physical separation symbolizes the spiritual isolation experienced by those burdened with sin, highlighting the devastating consequences of spiritual uncleanness – being separated from the grace of God.

In the Gospel, a courageous man afflicted with leprosy approaches Jesus with faith, declaring, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Despite the risk of humiliation and rejection, his trust in Jesus' power compels him to seek healing.

There's wisdom to learn from this encounter. First, the leper's acknowledgment of his condition moves him to seek assistance. Second, his faith leads him to approach Jesus directly for healing. Third, his humility is evident as he acknowledges that his healing is subject to Jesus' will, humbly beginning his plea with “if you wish.”

Through this miraculous encounter, Jesus not only heals the leper's physical ailment but also restores his dignity and social integration, symbolizing the transformative power of divine mercy and grace.

However, we're also confronted with an unfortunate truth about this man – his disobedience. Despite Jesus instructing him to remain silent and go directly to the priest, he disregards this command, spreading the news far and wide. The repercussions of his actions not only hinder Jesus' movement but also force Him to remain in deserted places.

How often do we find ourselves in similar situations, recognizing our need for God’s help, receiving answers to our prayers, yet faltering in obedience afterward? Let us today deeply reflect on this narrative and renew our commitment to obey God's will, ensuring that our actions align with our faith and gratitude for His love and mercy.

Let us also reflect on our own experiences of exclusion, brokenness, and the healing presence of Jesus in our lives. Like the leper, we may carry the burden of sin or suffering that separates us from God and others. Yet, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the encounter with Jesus in prayer and the Holy Eucharist, we too can experience the transformative power of His healing. Just as Jesus reached out to touch the leper, He continues to reach out to each of us with compassion and mercy, inviting us to come to Him with trust and faith.

Please be assured of my prayers before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert


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