Lv 13:1-2, 44-46
1 Cor 10:31-11:1
Leprosy was a terrible thing. People who had this disease, who suffered from skin ailments, who were contagious, had to live apart from the community. People with this disease were separated from community life. They were unclean, untouchable, no longer one with their community. One with a sore or pustule had to present themselves to the priest who would declare them unclean, unfit to live with the rest of the people. Should the sore go away, should that person appear to be healed, they would cease to be unclean. They could return to the community. How did one get healed? Perhaps a miracle, perhaps a treatment worked, perhaps the sore simply went away on its own. Healing was, however, the only way back into the community.
A leper approached Jesus, seeking healing. Jesus granted the request, healing the man and instructing him to go to the priest to show that he was indeed healed, that he was no longer unclean. The former leper went away rejoicing, praising God, and telling everyone what Jesus had done. He no longer had to live apart from his neighbors, he could rejoin the community, the family of faith he had been separated from. We find ourselves in the position of the leper. We separate ourselves from the community through our disease, our leprosy, sin. Sin sets us apart, removes us from the community, makes us unclean. Through sin we cut ourselves off from our community, from God, from life. We, however, have the opportunity to do as the leper did. We can approach Jesus and seek healing from our spiritual leprosy. We ask for healing, we seek relief, and it is granted. We have no need to fear, no reason to stay apart. We need not wait for healing by chance, it will not come. We need only to turn to the Christ, to Jesus, and our healing will be complete. Our stain of leprosy is wiped away, we are restored to the community. We need not live apart, all we need to do is turn to Jesus and ask.
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Feb. 15, 2009