From Our Pastor's Desk
From Our Pastor's Desk
Sunday, February 11, 2024 – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B Readings: Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46, Psalm 32
“I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation” , 1 Corinthians 10:31—11:1, Mark 1:40-45
SIN IS LEPROSY Today's Gospel narrates the healing of a leper and expresses very efficiently the intense relationship between God and man in these words: "If you wish, you can make me clean", says the leper. "I do will it. Be made clean", answers Jesus while touching the sick man, thus removing the leprosy. This passage tells us in very few words the entire history of salvation: Christ is God's 'hand" extended to humanity so that humanity can come out of the quicksand of illness, and we can get up again only by supporting ourselves on the firm rock of divine love.
Brothers and Sisters:
1. Leprosy was considered as religious impurity, so the leper was expelled from the community because of his sins. Christ revolutionizes this condemning mentality. To the leper of the Gospel, He treats him like an ill person and is truly interested in his healing. Jesus sees the person. The Christian must learn two lessons: On one hand, the humble attitude of the leper: "If you wish, you can make me clean" - and on the other hand, his apostolic fervor to spread the work of God on willing souls.
2. Leprosy as God's punishment for our sins is an idea still present in the 21st century, just as it was two thou-sand years ago. This is a dirty and contagious disease, that makes a man impure. Father Damian, apostle to the lepers in Molokai, sails to that island, and lives amongst the lepers and heals the souls and bodies of those segregated, excluded and unwanted by society. He repeats this and makes human the miracle told by the Gospel: "moved by com-passion, He extended his hand, touched him; and instantly, the leprosy was cured".
Confronted by a leper we could have two attitudes: either separate him so he doesn't make anybody else ill, or heal him so he can live amongst us. Could it be that too many times we live still in the Old Testament? We must bring ourselves to be true Christians so that our love can repeat the miracle of healing.
3. Christ loves each man, each sinner, each leper and for that reason He doesn't ignore leprosy. He cures it. In other words, He fights against evil because He loves man and He wants to save him. The Christian must understand, share, not judge, help all his neighbors; no matter how "leper" he looks... because a Christian knows that we are all sinners. A Christian also knows that if he wants to follow the Messiah of the Kingdom of love and charity, it is necessary to fight against all evil, help overcome it, and be intolerant against any pact that doesn't separate good from evil, truth from lies, justice and oppression.
We are stalked by two temptations: unpermissiveness, that divides men among pure and impure, good and bad, and rejects bad from coexisting with the good ones. Permissiveness, which considers all equal.
Let's not label our neighbor. Let's learn to forgive and excuse. We all are sinners and we have to seek Christ with faith and trust in his mercy. Christ wants to heal us. He is also waiting for us today in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Source: ePriest.com / Best Practices and Homily Resources for Catholic Priests