We hear in today’s Gospel of another healing miracle; the leper is rid of his disease and disfigurement by Jesus. Again Jesus touches the leper, a real taboo as we hear in the first reading from Leviticus. It is also the start of the in and out of Jesus’s life, because the man, even though told not to say anything about Jesus, cannot help himself but let the world know of the wonder that has happened to him. Because of this Jesus and the leper have swapped positions; the leper can enter the town but Jesus cannot because he would be mobbed. An interesting point from the Leviticus reading is the use of the cry, “unclean, unclean”. This had a twofold function, firstly to caution the healthy to be aware of the illness but also because these people were destitute and it was the duty of the people to bring them food etc.
This in and out theme runs through the gospels. Jesus is in his home town at times and can’t do miracles but outside he can. Jesus is in and out of Israel and Judea but sometimes is out in apostate Samaria. In the passion narrative Jesus can be seen in and out of darkness, in the dark night of the Sanhedrin, in the gloom of Pilate’s palace or out in the glare of the sun at his condemnation by the crowd. Watch for these things as we go through the scriptures this year.
At Masses this Sunday and also next week, we have the Together in Mission process where we who are in the comfort and joy of our faith community here in Santa Maria Valley respond to the needs of those who for whatever reason, be it poverty, disability, isolation, health, lack of resources or instruction in the faith etc, need our help to live a vital life of faith and to be able to be enriched by the outreach and the mission of the Church. Please give generously.
Lent starts this week on Ash Wednesday. Please avail yourself of the many opportunities to receive Ashes. Remember not only to give something up as a sacrifice but also to do something extra for Christ and the Church. Also, Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence from meat.
May God bless you and your families,
Fr Aidan Peter CJ