Most of us seek life, life here with God the Father given to us through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, most of us seek life, not only a healthy one, but one that draws from He who is Life itself.


In today’s Gospel from St. Mark we have Jesus curing a leper. It is a familiar account.


Now the leper “is not asking for healing, but to be purified, that is to be put in a condition to go back into the community. More than the disease itself, what troubled him was the fact of being excluded from civil and religious society.[1]


Now in Jesus’ time curing a leper was equivalent to raising the dead. The priests could only “declare pure” a leper, not “make him pure.They are not able to cure him because the healing of leprosy was reserved to God (2 K 5:7).[2]


Jesus, of course is God so he can bring this dead man back to life. The leper, approaching Jesus and then kneeling says “If you want to you can cure me.” He has faith in Jesus, great faith but he probably doesn’t expect a full healing.


Jesus, always compassionate to the marginalized, the sick, the poor and anyone who seeks help, quickly replies “Of course I want to! Be cured.[3]  Jesus “stretched out his hand and touched him.[4] In Jesus the Lord does not appear as the Pharisees imagined: holy, separated from the impure. He accepts the lepers and caresses them because in every man, even one who has fallen into the deepest abyss of guilt, he sees a supremely lovable son.[5]


The leper is a child of God. And, of course, the man is cured. Cured completely, body and soul.


Naturally he would have been so happy and would want to tell everyone of this wonderful event but Jesus orders him “Mind you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your healing prescribed by Moses as evidence of your recovery.[6]


To avoid misunderstandings, Jesus does not want the news from spreading among the people; the religious leaders instead, priests must know that a great prophet has arisen in Israel, that God has visited his people and that the kingdom of God has begun.[7]


Stay awhile - do you have a leprous part that is in need of the touch of Jesus?


Sr. Rosaleen Shaw OP




[2] Ibid.

[3] Mk. 1:40-42

[4] Mk.1:41


[6] Mk. 1:44


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