JAN. 14. ORDINARY TIME (B) WK. 1. THU. MK. 1. 40-45
Updated: Jul 24
A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees: ‘If you want to’ he said ‘you can cure me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!’ he said. ‘Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once and he was cured. Jesus immediately sent him away and sternly ordered him, ‘Mind you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your healing prescribed by Moses as evidence of your recovery.’
The man went away, but then started talking about it freely and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived.
Even so, people from all around would come to him.
The lesson of this Gospel reading is one of Humility! “A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees!” This is something many of us we are very reluctant to do; - to face up to, and acknowledge our sins openly, and without excuse, to God. We prefer to come to confession with an ‘explanation’ for our sinfulness, rather than a simple and humble admission?
The reason for this is we want to preserve our “goodness”, rather than believing, in our hearts, we are genuine sinners who chose to follow our own desires, rather than do the Will of God. Accepting the truth we are “real” sinners does not come easily to us?
While the leper in today’s Gospel was referring to leprosy when he approached Jesus we need to be aware our sinful condition is much worse, as it impacts on our spiritual life, while the leper’s condition only affected his physical body.
We tend to reverse this situation by showing greater concern for our temporal circumstances than those of our spiritual life, as the state of our soul is hidden and secret from those around us; - so we focus more on our “image” in front of others, than our image before God?
The leper in this passage also reflected this truth! “Jesus immediately sent him away and sternly ordered him, mind you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest’
but rather than rejoicing quietly at this personal and miraculous cure, and going to the priest in the temple to give thanks, the leper; - “started talking about it freely and telling the story everywhere!”
I think we are also in danger of focussing primarily on our temporal circumstances rather than the state of our spiritual life; - but this is not in accord with Christ’s life or teachings, as he showed no concern at all for his temporal circumstances, being born in a stable and “having nowhere to lay his head!”
Christ, in his dealings with this leper, wanted him to focus on his spiritual life, telling him to go to the temple, to see the priest, and to discuss his cure with nobody; - the lesson being that what is important is one’s relationship with God, rather than our temporal circumstances or the thoughts of those around us!
Sadly, very often we are more focused on our temporal circumstances than on the state of our relationship with God; - even though Christ showed no concern for his temporal circumstances?
Gospel Acclamation cf.Mt4:23
Jesus preached the Good News of the kingdom
and healed all who were sick.