Scripture: Lectionary 78 Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, B Cycle, Feb.12, 2012
Jesus cures a leper—a person who is considered unclean and not permitted to enter the Temple to pray. The first reading from Leviticus which is sort of a “canon law” book in the Hebrew Scriptures states the situation well. We do well to ponder it over for Leviticus is only read from four times a year in our short excerpts of the liturgy. Leviticus concentrates on legal and ritual subjects. It may be the first writing to prescribe the Golden Rule: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” It is also called the Law of the Priests. It contains the “Holiness Code.” Its biblical inspiration is meant to be read not only by canon lawyers but by all believers in the Bible!
We may ask ourselves how do we relate to outsiders or marginalized people? Do we have any of them among our friends? Jesus teaches us in the Gospel how to treat them; he thinks “outside the box.” And though he is dismayed and moved to pity (two emotions mentioned in this Gospel passage), he heals the man of his blemishes. Then he tells him to go and show himself to the priests in order to be cleared for Temple worship and prayer. We see Jesus as observing the Mosaic Law here thus helping us to respect our own church laws and canon law.
Converts often experience something similar to the leper. They are changed through a conversion grace and enter more fully into the Catholic faith more than “cradle Catholics.” They have had a spiritual turn around (a metanoia). Both the cleansed leper and the converted person give testimony to us to be open to a renewal in our stale living out of the faith. We need this renewal through God’s cure—grace. Often we complain about the length of the Mass or the liturgy and have rarely prepared ourselves for it by reading the sacred texts before the Mass.
Once converted or cleansed we can like the leper proclaim and witness to Jesus and his message of Good News. We then may be able to reach out to the poor and the marginalized without using sanitary spiritual gloves. Can I imitate the leper? Do I return to the essentials of my faith? Do I examine my behavior and interactions with my neighbor at the end of the day? Have I brought Good News to others or bad news? Amen.