Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gospel Text for Sunday, 12 February 2012

Mark 1:40-45
A leper came to Jesus begging him, and kneeling he said to him, "If you choose, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I do choose. Be made clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever felt like a leper; unclean, unworthy, and outcast? I have. In contemporary language we call it shame. I think for many shame is a disease of childhood, a disease that may begin while we are still in the womb and like a latent infection it festers and causes us to feel disgraced and separated from our parents, peers, ourselves and God. Much like leprosy, shame undermines life at more than one level.

    The skin of a leper signals to all who see her that she is diseased, despised and to be avoided. The physical malady festers into a social disease. Likewise a person suffering the sting of shame feels others looking through their skin. It is as if the metal bands around their chest and the grinding in their groin ring out like sirens warning others to “keep away.” No one wants to be near a leper. No one wants to be near a shame-filled person. No one, that is, except Jesus.

    Jesus chose to touch the untouchable. I imagine he must have had to overcome his own fear of catching the disease and get beyond concern for what other people, especially the religious officials, would think of him breaking the purity laws. Still, Jesus refused to let the leper be cast out because in his heart of hearts he knew the ideas of shame and exile had no place in his Father’s good creation. And so Jesus extended himself, his touch, and the power of his loving acceptance healed the leper. Jesus bridged the gap and the leper was both healed of his physical malady and cured of his social disease. The leper was restored to grace, that being relationship with society and God.

    The healing and cure of shame is no different than that of leprosy. It is delivered in the grace of God who touches our festering wounds and reminds us that we are the beloved daughters and sons of God, in whom God is well pleased. Nothing can separate us from the love of God, nothing.