This weekend we are celebrating the sixth and last Sunday of Ordinary Time before we enter into the liturgical season of Lent. We have been meditating on the Gospel of Mark; the passage for today tells us about one more miracle of healing, Jesus heals a leper.
So that we do not lose interest in Sacred Scriptures and to find it always intriguing, it is good to ask questions after reading it. For instance, where was Jesus when He healed the man suffering from leprosy? Why did Jesus cure him? Why did Jesus ask this man to be silent about His healing miracle? Why did the leper do the opposite?
If we look back a few verses, we read that Jesus leaves the town of Capernaum and travels around the nearby villages to preach the gospel. It seems that Jesus was not necessarily in a town but on the border. We already know the leper's situation because of what we read in the first reading from Leviticus; since the time of Moses and Aaron, the lepers were isolated from the community, their garments rendered, their heads bare, and they must cry out, “unclean, unclean”.
The leper in today’s Gospel reading had reached the point of despair. He had lost all hope. In this condition, periphery and disease, he found Jesus. Of course he had heard about Jesus and of the miracles He performed. This man turned to Jesus as his last hope. This situation made the leper fully trust in Jesus; kneeling, he begged, ‘if You want, You can heal me.’ Jesus, with His healing power, not only restored health to this man isolated by leprosy, more importantly, Jesus returned his dignity- this dignity that had been taken by the misfortune of a disease and the isolation of a social code.
Brothers and sisters, surely we are far from reaching the point of despair of the leper. Hope that we never arrive at that point. However, comfort and human security can be lost when one becomes distant with God. This distance comes from a decrease of our faith in Him. It seems that we build certain tolerance to sin in our life. We think that, in theory, sin does not affect us as much as other people. The reality is that sin destroys our dignity and creates more distance from God.
Clearly the social codes which help us to form our morals no longer have the same effect. But Jesus, dear brothers and sisters, can and wants to restore our dignity. God is the merciful Father who has His arms wide open to embrace you in the Sacrament of Confession. Do not wait any longer to restore your dignity as a child of God. May God bless you.
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Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.