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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 11, 2018

Reading 1 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.”

– Leprosy was taken very seriously in Biblical times.  While it is now easily cured, the only way they knew to deal with it was to isolate those who had it.  Lepers lived in colonies apart from the larger community and when they traveled they were required to ring a bell warning others of their approach.  Since it was commonly believed that such illnesses were punishment for sin, there was also much shame attached to this disease.
– Can you think of any present day illness or condition that parallels this in our time?  Is there a better way than isolation for treating it?

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Responsorial Psalm PS 32:1-2, 5, 11

R. (7) I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,”
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you just;
exult, all you upright of heart.
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
.
– This Psalm rejoices in the forgiveness of sin and the removal of shame, of healing and restoration of dignity. We belong to God who loves sinners but hates sin but we live in a world that loves sin and hates at least certain types of sinners.  Declaring sin to be no sin at all , such as with abortion and sexual sins takes us into a state of denial.  Even the infinite mercy of God cannot reach one who denies his or her need for it.

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Reading 2 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.
 
– There is a story told of a man standing on a street corner in a Medieval city.  A man comes by pushing a wheelbarrow full of stones.  He asks him, “What are you doing?”  The laborer replies, “Pushing a wheelbarrow, can’t you see?”  Another man comes by to which the by-stander asks the same question.  He replies, “I am trying to make a living for my family.  When a third man comes by, he replies, “I am building a Cathedral”.   A fourth man comes by and declares he is working for the salvation of souls.
Now, all four men were physically doing the same task, but each one had a very different motive.  Which motive closely matches your own?
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Alleluia                                                            LK 7:16
.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst, God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
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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.

 
– The confidence of the leper is remarkable.  He seems quite ready for Jesus to act, and to accept His action as being for his benefit.  Do you have that kind of confidence to accept whatever God wills for you?  Are you certain that this is of greater value than hitting the lottery or any other material gain you might desire?
 
– The leper does not obey Jesus to keep his healing quiet.  It becomes a hinderance for Jesus to minister to others.  Christ’s fame spreads that He is a miracle worker, rather than the Messiah Who would suffer and die for the sins of the world.  Have you ever met a Christian whose speech or actions were a real turn-off to you or others?  Have you ever considered the possibility that your way of practicing the Catholic Faith may be a hindrance rather than a help to yourself and others?  Shortly we will begin the holy season of Lent. May these considerations lead you to enter deeply into the process of repentance and healing.
 
Prosit
 
Fr. John

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