6th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
All three readings today teach us that we are called to become pure and holy. But we don’t become holy by some ritual observances. We become holy by confessing our sins to God and offering our lives for God’s glory and by sharing God’s love with everyone around us without discriminating against anyone on the basis of color, race, culture, religion, life style.
The first reading today is from the Book of Leviticus, which is one of the early books of Hebrew Scripture, one of the early books of our Christian Bible. Chapters 12 to 15 deal with various illnesses and why some illnesses require the person to live apart, primarily in order not to infect others. We can well imagine, however, that if a person were able to hid some kind of infection, they would do so in order to avoid expulsion from the community.
The second reading is from the First Letter to the Corinthians. The strong teaching in this small except is that we should try to avoid giving offense to others and should try to please everyone. That is a tall order but we can understand that Christians are called to love everyone and to serve everyone and to put one’s own needs behind the needs of others. This could sound like a commandment just to be nice. Instead Saint Paul thinks of it as a way to bring salvation to others. We are all missionaries and must think about how we can draw others to Christ Jesus. The Gospel from Mark today brings us back to leprosy. The leper in today’s Gospel wants to be cured. His faith that Jesus can cure him is so strong that Jesus tells him: “Be made clean.” And the leprosy leaves him. Even though Jesus asks the leper to be silent about this cure, the leper cannot keep his mouth shut. The leper proclaims to everyone that he has been cured by Jesus.
Sin is seen in the early Church as a form of moral leprosy. We are invited by Jesus to become clean in baptism. The early Church had a huge struggle to come to understand how anyone baptized could return to sin. But sin is like leprosy and returns over and over until there is a completely cure. The cure for spiritual leprosy is faith in Jesus Christ.
Today on this Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, we can ask ourselves: Do I really want to be free of sin? Am I willing to call out to the Lord and ask the Lord to heal me? Am I willing to proclaim the glory of God?
1-We need to trust in the mercy of a forgiving God who assures us that our sins are forgiven and that we are clean. We are forgiven and made spiritually clean from the spiritual leprosy of sins when we repent of our sins because God is a God of love Who waits patiently for us. The only condition required of us is that we ask for forgiveness with a repentant heart. We are sure to hear His words of absolution, “Very well– your sins are forgiven, and you are clean,” echoed in the
Sacrament of Reconciliation. 2) We need to tear down the walls that separate us from others and build bridges of loving relationship. Jesus calls every one of us to demolish the walls that separate us from each other and to welcome the outcasts and the untouchables of society. These include homosexuals, AIDS victims, alcoholics, drug addicts and marginalized groups – the divorced, the unmarried-single mothers, migrant workers and the mentally ill. God’s loving hand must reach out to them through us. Jesus wants us to touch their lives. Let us re-examine the barriers we have created and approach God with a heart that is ready to welcome the outcasts in our society.
May God Bless Us.