The Gospel at Mass on Sunday, the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, continues to offer us spiritual nourishment as we come to Shrove Tuesday, the last day before the beginning of Lent.
In Lent we are provided with safe space for acknowledging our sins and uncleanliness. The whole Church, beloved by God and precious to him as instrument of salvation, is called to that same examination of life and to conversion.
There is safety in crowd, even as there is supreme comfort in the individual’s intimate and personal encounter with the Lord.
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.
- What is out of order in your life? Why? What are its consequences for you and others? What are your feelings about this?
- Find time to meditate on the passage above. Place yourself in the scene – perhaps as the leper, perhaps as a bystander… Let the scene unfold. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel?
- Bring to the Lord your own ailment. Bring to him your response to his love. What do you want to say to him? What do you hear him say to you? Hear his offering of healing and know his love for you.
- Consider how this meditation might prepare you for the season of Lent.
- Bring your response to this time of meditation to God in prayer.
Picture is of A Gentleman in Adoration before the Baptism of Christ by Giovanni Battista Moroni (c.1555) found here. Our gospel is of the healing of the leper, not the Baptism of Christ, and maybe you are not a gentleman. However the painting depicts a prayer exercise such as that proposed above. We are part of a long tradition drawn to faithfulness to the Lord, and finding inspiration in his living word.