Mark 1:40-45

jesus-heals-a-leper“He spread the report abroad (the leper)
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
Jesus remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.”

I thought about this this morning. After healing the leper and warning him not to say anything, the leper told everyone that Jesus had healed him. I imagine the the leper was so ecstatic, so overcome with joy, that he couldn’t keep the news to himself. But then Jesus had to remain in the wilderness, outside of towns and villages, if he was to have any rest. Still the people searched for Him. As with all things, even this inconvenience served the Lord, for he had time with his disciples. I imagine he was speaking with them, training them.

What did the disciples think when they witnessed people being healed? Were they impressed or were they still waiting for the “political” Messiah? Still, those times alone with the Lord, sleeping under the stars, sitting around a campfire talking – those had to be special memories for all of them.

March 8, 2020

This was the reading this morning in the Magnificat. I pondered this passage for some time this morning. We can see the reverence in the Leper as he kneels before Jesus. We can almost feel Jesus’ compassion toward the man as He reaches out His hand and touches the Leper. And with the power of God, Jesus heals the man.

Bishop Barron has a reflection on this passage in the Word on Fire Bible. He states: “Leprosy frightened people in ancient times – as contagious and mysterious diseases frighten people up through modern times. But more than this, leprosy rendered someone unclean and therefore incapable of engaging in the act of worship…”

We, in this modern time, have been dealing with our own leprosy – covid 19. In the beginning of the “pandemic” it was understandable that restrictions were enacted to protect people from the disease. Even our churches were closed. But now that we know that 95% of the people will recover from the disease and that there are many treatments for the disease should be be infected, why are our churches still partially closed? We are we required to wear masks in our churches, forbidden from being close to others by limiting the number of people in a pew and leaving every other pew empty. What is it with our Bishops? They are treating us like lepers. Like the man in the Gospel story, we are “Israelites in exile from the Temple of God” – and as Bishop Barron says, ” an apt symbol of the general condition of scattered, exiled and wandering Israel.”

Mass is available to watch online for those who are ill. But for those of us who are not ill, the churches should be open and our community should be gathered together as they once were.