6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (NAB Translation)
Welcome to the Sunday Says podcast for February 15, 2015, the sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Thank you for joining us as we break open the Word of God for this Sunday’s Mass so that we can prepare our hearts and minds for the Liturgy of the Word. This Sunday’s scripture readings invite us to a deeper appreciation of Jesus’ healing ministry and serve as a reminder to do all things with God’s glory in mind. So let’s dive in. As always our readings are taken from the Jerusalem translation for copyright purposes.
The book of Leviticus in the Old Testament contained many laws regarding hygiene and how to deal with disease. A form of leprosy was common in that geographical region in those times and was very contagious. People with leprosy were placed in quarantine and treated as outcasts until their disease could be cured. To be declared cured, a leper had to show himself to a priest, who in those days also assumed a role similar to a physician. This reading provides the context for understanding our Gospel reading in Mark where Jesus himself, heals a leper. In a certain sense it might be useful to recall that our own sins can be like a leprosy on our souls that can be cured by our Divine Physician, Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The response for the responsorial psalm for this week says:
You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation.
In our second reading from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, we are reminded that everything we do should be done with God in mind, even things that may seem trivial. This passage also invites us to consider God’s perspective in the decisions we make every day and also invites us to examine our intentions behind what we do. Circumstances may dictate whether an action is good or bad. Could something we are doing cause a brother or sister in Christ to stumble in their own faith? Even if something is not sinful, we should consider whether doing it may negatively impact someone else. The bottom line is that we should always consider whether an action is actually helpful and serves to build up God’s Kingdom. If Christians truly governed their behavior so that every action was meant to glorify God, our witness would be more powerful and compelling.
Our gospel reading from St. Mark reveals the heart of Jesus: His love and His mercy which serves as a model that we should likewise follow. In this gospel scene, a man with leprosy, who is living a life as an outcast suffering public humiliation has come to believe in Jesus. This man is confident in both Jesus’ power and hopeful of his mercy. He comes to Jesus humbly, pleading on his knees, and Jesus feels a great amount of compassion for him. “Of course I want to heal you,“ Jesus tells the man, and so he reaches out and actually touches the man and heals him. This story serves to point out the manner in which we should approach the Lord when we need spiritual or physical healing. Do we come humbly, yet confidently to Jesus to be healed, knowing that he loves us and wants to heal us? And how do we treat the sick, the outcast, and the marginalized? Are we willing to reach out to them as people in need of touch and healing? Jesus’ teaching and examples always present a challenge to us. So then how can we better imitate Jesus in our daily lives and respond to his love and mercy? Perhaps we offer him our humility, allow him to heal us, and share that same love and mercy to others, even those that may prove difficult to love.
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