Sixth Sunday Ordinary Time
Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46
I Corinthians 10:31- 11:1
Mark 1: 40-45
Our readings have to do with illness, and because it is cold and flu season, I will make a public health announcement. If you are sick stay home, we can have someone bring you communion. If you are not feeling well do not have exchange the sign of peace, just let the person know you are not feeling well. Another thing to avoid will be not drinking from the cup, do not spread your germs to anyone else. We should all wash our hands as much as we are able. Being sick is not fun, but we do not want to spread our sickness to other people.
I like our readings, not because they are about illness, but because they prepare us for Lent to begin on Wednesday. When we are sick, we should separate ourselves from as many people as possible, so we do not infect someone else. When we sin we do the very same thing, we separate ourselves from others by our words thoughts and actions. This week, I said something about someone, and I instantly felt separated from this person, because of my words. We have some sins we do for a long time, so imagine ourselves being separated from the community and not being touched, no high fives, and no handshakes. This is what sin does to us in our lives.
A basic Hebrew understanding of God is that he created everything as good. The book of Leviticus lays out what to do if someone in the community has a skin ailment, and this could be many things. The person would have to leave the community so they would not affect anyone, they could not worship in the temple, and they were seen as a great sinner.
In our Gospel, a leper approaches Jesus, and he does not do anything he is should have done, but he says everything right. He does not follow the rules of engagement of what a leper is to do. He should have yelled, “Unclean, unclean!” He walks right up to Jesus and says, “Jesus, if you wish, you can heal me.” The man is making a proclamation of faith! The man is saying, “Jesus I know you can heal me, but it is up to you.” Jesus pities the man, one interpretation I read is that Jesus felt so much pity his insides poured out. Jesus says, “I do, will it? Be made clean.” What the leper teaches us is when we are outside of the community because of sin we have to do whatever it takes to make things right.
As we gather, our challenge is to ask ourselves, “Well then how sick am I?” As Lent draws closer can we say, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean” because if you do make me clean, then I will make all of my thoughts, words, and action to give you glory. Now that would be some Lenten resolution!