Engaging the Gospel – Mark 1:40-45

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B): Gospel – Mark 1:40-45

Christ graciously heals the leper, who then disobeys the Lord

The leper’s earnest prayer encourages us to pray with “filial boldness” for our needs (Catechism paragraph 2610).

But after Jesus graciously heals him, the leper fails to respond in kind, and disregards the Lord’s instruction to him. This prompts us to reflect upon how we receive the Lord’s gifts.

Are we truly “living in thanksgiving,” knowing that “everything we are and have comes from Him” (224), or do we thoughtlessly go our own way? Like the leper, we also have been healed, from the deadly spiritual sickness caused by our sins.

Jesus referred the leper to the Jewish priest: the Old Covenant priesthood prefigures the New Covenant priesthood, which Christ gave us as a gift to cleanse and shepherd us (1541).

Benedict XVI comments:

According to the ancient Jewish law…leprosy constituted a kind of religious and civil death, and its healing a kind of resurrection. It is possible to see leprosy as a symbol of sin, which is the true impurity of heart that can distance us from God.  It is not in fact the physical disease of leprosy that separates us from God as the ancient norms supposed but sin, spiritual and moral evil.

…The sins that we commit distance us from God and, if we do not humbly confess them, trusting in divine mercy, they will finally bring about the death of the soul…In the Sacrament of Penance, the Crucified and Risen Christ purifies us through His ministers with His infinite mercy, restores us to communion with the heavenly Father and with our brothers, and makes us a gift of His love, His joy and His peace.

Angelus of February 15, 2009

Question for reflection: How do I express my gratitude for God’s blessings?