The Gospel at Mass today, the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, speaks of healing and reintegration through the love of God.
A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees: ‘If you want to’ he said ‘you can cure me.’
Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!’ he said. ‘Be cured!’And the leprosy left him at once and he was cured.
Jesus immediately sent him away and sternly ordered him, ‘Mind you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your healing prescribed by Moses as evidence of your recovery.’
The man went away, but then started talking about it freely and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived. Even so, people from all around would come to him.
The gospel also tells of how, with typical Markan irony, the healer takes the place of the outcast. Once the leper had to stay in the wilderness: now it is Jesus. Fame, and being popular with the populace, can be corrosive of good civil order and moral life, outside of the kingdom of heaven!
- Where do you feel called to go beyond what is generally held acceptable for the sake of the excluded? To witness to the love of God?
- When do you court popularity? With what effect?
Photograph is of a much publicised encounter between Pope Francis and Vinicio Riva, who is afflicted with neurofibromatosis. Read more here.