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.”
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
A common experience of human illness—no matter how serious—is isolation. A simple cold or the flu can cut us off from other people. A common experience of healing comes when the human touch of another shatters our isolation: the touch of professional healers or the embrace of friends.
Mark’s Gospel knows this human experience. In today’s story, Mark shows Jesus reaching across a huge cultural barrier to touch and heal a leper. For Mark, this story is one of many that identify the mission of Jesus as a struggle against evil, manifested partly in human sickness and suffering. Sickness doesn’t mean the sick person has necessarily sinned, rather illness is part of the evil that Jesus is battling.
The story of the healing of the leper is full of emotion. We sense God’s power at work. The man is invited to re-connect with the community, signaling the end of his isolation through a ritual visit to the priests. The power at work in Jesus cannot be kept secret. Word spreads far and wide.
How have you or I become isolated from the community of believers? How is Jesus calling us to re-connect? At Sunday Eucharist we’re invited to lay aside our isolation, and to witness to one another what Christ has done for us.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
According to the first reading (Lev 13:1-2, 44-46), what is the instruction the Lord gave to Moses and Aaron?
At that time leprosy was an incurable disease. What were lepers supposed to do?
In the second reading (1Cor 10:31-11:1), Paul tells the Corinthians to “do everything for the glory of God.” What does that mean for you?
Paul then tells them, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” What does Paul mean?
In this week's Gospel, Jesus heals a leper. Then what did he tell the healed leper to do?
Did that man obey Jesus’ order not to tell anyone? What did that do?
In honor of Valentine's Day, make some cards for people in your life and write down the reasons that you love that person.