A reflection on today’s readings.
In our First Reading today we see how terrible it was when someone contracted leprosy.
“A man infected with leprosy must wear his clothing torn and his hair disordered; he must shield his upper lip and cry, “Unclean, unclean.” As long as the disease lasts he must be unclean; and therefore he must live apart: he must live outside the camp.”
So contagious is leprosy, and so afraid were the people, that a lepar had to dress in a certain way, and wear their hair a certain way, so people could recognise they were a lepar, and distance themselves.
When someone came near a lepar, the lepar himself had to shout out “unclean.” Could you imagine this?
And…worst of all they were excluded from their family and their community, and also from the Temple, so they could not even publicly worship God.
There is a famous passage in the Old Testament (2 Kings 5) in relation to leprosy. Namann, a man in a foreign land, who is a general in the Syrian Army, goes to Israel to the prophet Elisha to be healed of his leprosy. He first visits the King of Israel who explains to him that only God can heal leprosy. It was beyond humans at the time!
Jesus is at the beginning of His public ministry in our Gospel – we are still in the first chapter of St Mark’s Gospel. This makes the faith of the lepar who approaches Him all the more remarkable. He believes Jesus has divine power, and that’s why he goes down on his knees before Him. A act of reverence reserved for the LORD.
In our First Reading from the Book of Leviticus, we see that a priest declares if someone had leprosy, and also declares if the person is cured. This is why Jesus sends the lepar to the priest for him to declare him clean, and for the man to make the necessary washing ritual sacrifices that render him clean.
Leprosy is not as great a problem today due to advances in medicine, but we too can become separated from the community of God and public worship through our sins.
Mortal Sin has a devastating effect on our soul, and consequently our relationship with others, and with God. It kills God’s grace in our soul – thus the name mortal!
Our Psalm today shows us how we are cleansed and incredibly blessed (happy) when God forgives our sins in confession:
“Happy the man whose offence is forgiven, whose sin is remitted. O happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no guile.”
May we, like the Lepar in today’s Gospel, always have the faith to go to Jesus in confession, to be healed.
Our LORD told St Faustina that the greatest miracles take place in the confessional:
“Tell souls where they are to look for solace, that is, in the Tribunal of Mercy [the Sacrament of Confession]. There the greatest miracles take place [and] are incessantly repeated. To avail oneself of this miracle, it is not necessary to go on a great pilgrimage, or to carry out some external ceremony; it suffices to come with faith to the feet of My representative and to reveal to Him one’s misery, and the miracle of Divine Mercy will be fully demonstrated. Were souls like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint there would be no [hope of] restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full.
God bless you,