Faith Matters

Sunday’s Gospel Mark 1:40-45       

The leprosy left him at once and he was cured.

Jesus Heals a man with Leprosy

A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’ But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

TIME TO REFLECT.

· Leprosy in the Bible covered a range of skin diseases. More importantly, it was considered as making a person unclean. The law required that a leper stay away from others – a social and religious exclusion. The leper breaches this code by approaching Jesus, and Jesus breaches it by touching the leper. But, having effected a cure, Jesus complies with the law in sending the man to the priest to formalise his re-instatement in the community. Jesus observes the law when it is of help to people.

· The leper doesn’t think: “I’ve tried others for a cure; now I’ll try Jesus”. No, for this leper there is no question: his faith in Jesus’ power is absolute.

· And he doesn’t even seem to think: “I’ll hold it against you if you don’t help me” – he seems ready to go on accepting his lot; so his faith is deep enough to leave Jesus in perfect freedom: to say to Jesus, “If you choose” – and to mean it.

· No wonder – when the healing does come – that he in no way takes it for granted. We notice one more dimension of the faith which he had all along - he has to spread the news everywhere, because he was utterly convinced of the power of the divine work of Jesus.