6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First reading: Lv. 13:1–2,44–46

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “If someone has on his skin a scab or pustule or blotch which appears to be the sore of leprosy, he shall be brought to Aaron, the priest, or to one of the priests among his descendants. If the man is leprous and unclean, the priest shall declare him unclean by reason of the sore on his head. “The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent and his head bare, and shall muffle his beard; he shall cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’ As long as the sore is on him he shall declare himself unclean, since he is in fact unclean. He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp.”

Second reading: 1 Cor. 10:31–11:1

Brothers and sisters, Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Avoid giving offense, whether to the Jews or Greeks or the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in every way, not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Gospel: Mk. 1:40–45

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. He said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

In other words

by Fr. Jong Biton, SVD (Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City)

Leprosy during the time of Jesus is a serious skin disease that disfigures the person afflicted with it. Declared as ritually unclean and banished from society, a leper may be considered as someone who is in constant anguish physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and religiously. In fact, leprosy is rendered incurable and, worse, as an illustration for sin.

With all the anguish of being so alone and lonely, isolated, ostracized, self-disgusted, unwanted, unaccepted or discriminated, and unloved, the leper in the Gospel makes a bold move of asking Jesus to make him clean, indicating a strong faith in Jesus and his capacity to heal. When Jesus touched him, all the loneliness and isolation, all the thoughts of being unwanted and unloved, vanished. Jesus gave the leper back his life—physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual.

The people we meet daily may not have leprosy but, they could be suffering from other forms of discomforts that make them feel lonely and unloved. May we be able to “touch” them the way Jesus did, showing kindness, compassion, and charity, eradicating negative feelings about self and others.

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