Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

January 16, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

 

First Book of Samuel 4:1-11

Psalm 44

Mark 1:40-45

In the Gospel narrative for today we read one of several stories about Jesus curing leprosy.  In the time of Jesus, leprosy was considered a punishment from God for sins committed against Him.  Lepers were considered to be unclean and were shunned by the rest of the community; they were forced to live in exile, outside the city walls.  If they found themselves around others who were “clean” they were required to announce their presence calling out “unclean, unclean!

With that as the social background of the time, I would like to reflect on several qualities of the man we only know as a “leper.”  He had courage, humility, hope and trust yet, being human, he was unable to keep a secret.  Can you just imagine this man’s courage?  He risked being scorned, or worse, stoned for even approaching Jesus and His companions.  How difficult can it be for us to risk the scorn and ridicule of others?  I find this man’s courage is something to be emulated.  The leper kneels before Jesus and begs to be cured.  How many of us would have the humility to beg God’s cleansing grace in such a public way?  This simple man approached Jesus with the total assurance that he would be cured.  The hope and trust in God’s healing is difficult to match. 

The leper in today’s Gospel teaches us some beautiful lessons in his interaction with Jesus – but, he is also very human.  Our Lord asks him not to tell anyone about the healing, but this is far too exciting to keep this great gift from God to himself.  The man can’t contain his joy and must tell everyone about his healing encounter with Jesus.  Place yourself in the shoes of the former leper.  Have you every been asked to keep a secret that is so exciting that you can literally feel the itch to tell someone?  Can you picture this then; after receiving God’s healing grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, walking out of the Church and excitedly telling everyone you see that God has forgiven all your sins?  WOW!

This simple account of the man with leprosy that we have heard so many times is not so simple as it seems.  It can take us in many different directions that all lead us back to the unconditional love of our God.

Question of the Day:  do you have the courage and humility to beg for God’s forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation? 

Prayer:  “Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.  In your compassion blot out my offense.  O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.”  (From the beginning of Psalm 51)

Prosit


ENCOUNTERING DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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