Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Book of Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46, Psalm 32, First Letter to the Corinthians 10:31-11:1,
& Mark 1:40-45
Rejection, exclusion, alienation, and being ostracized are terrible words to hear and even worse experiences. In the Hebrew Scriptures, in today's first reading, being a person who has a skin condition such as leprosy must be cast out and avoided.
The Book of Leviticus has many such rules for the proper conduct of Moses's followers. Moses has the authority of God, who declares this law necessary for the rest of the camp's health. Physical deformities or mental illness was interpreted as being a sign of sin or God's displeasure.
I believe that within this sense of religious legalism, we hear Jesus in today's Gospel narrative, including reaching towards and healing such an "unclean" man. The man comes with simple hope and faith, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Jesus touches the man and expresses the 'divine yes' to all humankind's uncleanness. "I do will it. Be made clean, " says Jesus—this figuratively and literally creates a quite moving picture that each of us can easily enter.
Today's readings invite us to present ourselves, not as dirty and rejectable, but as those who need Jesus, the Savior, in our lives. We have some muddy stains from our past and some feelings of being quite unclean and deserve to be rejected, excluded, and abandoned. We need a Savior to save us from the hell of our confinements. Does Jesus still will it? Do we have the desire to be un-excluded?
What we do best at times and especially during Holy Mass, is to allow Jesus to be Jesus, and let His grace wash our space. We become accustomed to our dirt, which is different from our "earth" or humanness. We see and hear today that Jesus calls us to honesty, which frees us from our ink-stained self that, like leprosy, can keep us from His communion and community. All we have to remember is Jesus smiling and saying to each of us, "I do will it."
Question of the Day: Will you allow Jesus to make you clean through the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
Prayer: My Lord and my God, You are my light and my strength. Grant that your light will never cease to shine in me. Amen.