Jesus cures a leper – Reinsert the excluded in fraternal partnership.

Gospel Acclamation Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet is risen among us, and God has visited his people. Alleluia.

The Gospel Mc 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.

Lectio
At the time of Jesus, the lepers were the people most excluded from society because of the lack of effective medicines, fear of contagion and the need to defend the life of the community urged the people to isolate them. For this reason, in Israel, the leper felt unclean and excluded, not only by society, but even by God (Lev 14,1-32). With deep compassion, Jesus touches the leper to cure the sickness of his loneliness. It is as if he were saying: “For me you are not excluded. I welcome you as a brother!” Secondly, Jesus heals not only the disease of leprosy, but wants the healed person to live again with the others and reintegrate him in the community. Then Jesus advises the leper to request a proof of his healing from the priest, in order to be reinserted in the community. Jesus prohibited the leper to speak of healing, but he did not. In order to be able to get in touch with Jesus, the leper broke the rules of the law. But Jesus too, in order to help that excluded and thus to reveal a new face of God, infringes the rules of his religion and touches the leper becoming unclean in the eyes of religious authorities and for the law of the time. For this reason, he had to live secluded from all and could not enter the city. However, Mark indicates that people did not give importance to these official rules, instead they came to him from everywhere! A total upheaval! The news that Mark gives to the communities of his time and to all of us is this: to proclaim the Good News means to bear witness to the real experience that the person has of Jesus, to make known the good deed performed by Jesus. And it is precisely this testimony that drives others to accept the Good News of God who is our Father and makes us all brothers in his Son.

In the course of history, waiting for the discovery of better remedies and especially thanks to the profound experience communicated to us by Jesus on God our Father, the lepers began to be accepted and reintegrated in the human coexistence, as brothers and sisters in the name of God. Despite the two thousand years of Christianity, however, the exclusion and marginalization of certain categories of people continue up to now, in the civil society and in the Church.

With Nazarenes eyes
The Word of God, through whom everything was created, once he himself became flesh and came to dwell in the land of men, turn out to be part of history of the world as the perfect Man, assuming and recapitulating it in himself. He reveals us that “God is love” (1 Jn. 4, 8), and at the same time teaches us that the fundamental law of human perfection, and consequently for the transformation of the world, is the new commandment of love. Those, therefore, who believe in divine charity, are assured that the path of charity is open to all men and that the efforts to establish a universal brotherhood will not be in vain. Likewise, he warns to walk on the path of charity not only in great things but also, and above all, in the ordinary circumstances of life. (Gaudium et Spes, 38). (Handbook of spirituality 3.4.2)

SA-FA spirituality is an invitation to a journey, which is always open to the growth of relations in the world. This includes:

  • Welcoming and accepting others as a gift of the Father, taking an interest because of not only their presence but also because of who each of them is.
  • The effort to create areas of communion and of humanity in the places of life and pastoral or professional work.
  • The concern to mediate in conflicts, trying to work for peace, and for the restoration of relationships among people through reconciliation and dialogue.
  • Attention to everything that favors the family spirit, communication and information, attention to details of ordinary life…
  • The care of filial relations with God and fraternal relations with all. (Handbook of spirituality 3.4.3)

Let us pray
You are my refuge; you free me from anguish (Sal.32)

At Nazareth
Blessed are those who feel forgiven. Jesus will become the dispenser of this beatitude. Breaking the attitude of closing upon our sin, and ourselves is an intimate and divine joy. To be able to ask forgiveness is a divine gift. The right of heart is the one who recognizes his own sin, does not justify it, asks forgiveness and is thankful. Jesus will say that there is a greater joy for one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous. Mary will be the Refuge of sinners. Joseph, the right man will guide us to the encounter with God. (Bro. Lino da Campo)

Intentions
Lord, who touched the hand of the leper and healed him, also touch our hearts, free them from selfishness and indifference that impels us to close our eyes to the evil present in the world. May our Christian community look with respect and care for the sick, the disabled, the elderly, seeing them as our brothers and sisters who suffer, looking to be close to them with love and sacrifice, recognizing that their sufferings joined to those of Christ are offered for our salvation. Let us pray especially for all the people suffering from deseases that, like leprosy, turn others away so that we can behave as brothers of all, overcoming prejudices and fears.