Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
1st Reading: Leviticus 13:1-2,44-46
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1
Gospel: Mark 1:40-45
Reflection: “I do will it. Be made clean.”
When we fall into many sufferings in life and we are constrained by the difficulties that come with it, our tendency is to find someone to blame or that we seek someone to alleviate the pain. In our readings this day, most particularly in the 1st Reading and the Gospel we heard of lepers. They are considered to be social outcasts because of their illness. They are not just suffering from their illness, but more than that they have to suffering from marginalization and isolation.
In our 1st Reading, the Book of Leviticus gives us the idea of what lepers are going through as they continue their lives outside the community. They have to live on their own and they have to shout as they walk, “unclean! unclean!” We do not have the slightest idea of the pain that these people are bearing, all we can say is that they are devastated physically and emotionally. Looking at our society today, we marginalized so many people, not only the sick ones but also those who are viewed by society as nothing or useless. We can inflict or we should say inflicted so much pain on people who have wronged us and have failed us in many ways. Some might say they are “beyond hope”, “beyond repair”, or say, “hopeless case”. These words or any similar words are the most “unChristian” that we can say or label another person. But we do give such and we have to think again of ourselves.
In our Gospel this Sunday, we can see the courage of a leper who saw hope in Christ. He destroyed protocols just to approach the Lord Jesus. In such the same way did the Lord also responded to him, He also went beyond human convention in order to bring the message of love and afford him hope. The leper approached the Lord and requested Him, “If you will it, you can make me clean.” And to it the Lord Jesus, touched Him (making Himself unclean for touching an unclean) and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” Here we can see that love does not mind social convention when human life is on the line. Love goes beyond the law, for love is the fulfillment of the Law. The Lord Jesus gave him the assurance beyond human idealism, He concretely brought the person back to His original dignity, he was addressed as a person not as outcast. We are invited, therefore, to be humane in our dealings with our brothers and sisters, because we are dealing with persons not social sins or mere sinners. We all have dignity and we are all sinners in one way or another.
Just as the leper approached the Jesus for healing, we also have to approach the Lord and ask for healing and forgiveness. Mercy is always available for those who ask for it and are ready to embrace the consequences that comes with it. Yes, mercy is there, but let us not forget that justice is also demanded. The Lord is merciful, but He is also just. Let us, then, take hold of God’s loving mercy in our lives and do penance for the wrongs we have done. There is always hope for us sinners.