Sun 11th Feb 2018
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Lev. 13:1-2,44-46
Ps. 32(31):1-2,5,11
1 Cor. 10:31-11:1
Mk. 1:40-45  (Ps Wk II)

In the gospels, Jesus often healed using a personal, physical, touch. It was usually a case of crossing a human-made boundary. In Mark's gospel, a fearful leper approached Jesus. He was used to being excluded and viewed with horror, fear, and disgust. The laws that separated and isolated lepers were quite severe.

Today, of course, we know that leprosy is not directly contagious and that it is easily healed with medications. But in the ancient world, leprosy was a nightmare and curse for people. The leper in the story can’t even bring himself to ask Jesus for healing directly, merely stating that Jesus could heal him if he wanted to. Almost indignantly, Jesus insisted that he did want to. Jesus was not afraid of contamination or impurity, and he did not draw back in disgust, but reached out and touched him. His compassion was active and physical. For this man, there would be no more isolation. His human dignity was restored, and he was welcomed back into human community.

Today there are many we exclude and isolate, and many more that are viewed with fear or disgust. Refugees, people that are different in their ethnicity or religion, or those that walk other life paths are frequently the target of discrimination and abuse. We can, like Jesus, choose to heal, and we can do so in very concrete and physical ways. Boundaries are human creations; God does not recognize boundaries.

Lord, help me to be compassionate to those in need.