Reflection by Dom Ryan;

First Reading Leviticus 13:1-2. 44-46;

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 10:31 – 11:1;

Gospel Mark 1:40-45




As we see in the first reading today, a diagnosis of leprosy was a terrible burden for a person. Not only did they have to put up with the debilitating effects of the disease, but they also had to do so on their own. To protect their community from this misunderstood and feared disease, they had to separate themselves from the healthy, from their family and their community. They also had to publicly proclaim their illness so that all could see and keep themselves safe.

Imagine today if you had to show all the world your weakness, your infirmity, your shame. This is the reality for the leper in today’s Gospel passage. All it took was for one single look from a passerby for his shame to be known. How desperate that man must have been for the consolation of human touch, companionship, love. How hopeless he must have felt.

Hopeless, that is, until Jesus passes by. We aren’t told how the leper knew of Jesus. How he was convinced of the hope that Jesus had to offer. We are just shown his actions. In desperation he confronts Jesus. On his knees. Supplicating. In hope. Where before that had been no hope, only despair, the leper knows that now there is possibility. If only Jesus will grant it. So, the leper grabs his one opportunity with open, diseased arms and is healed.

Jesus may have asked him to keep this news to himself, but how could he? He was broken, and now he was whole. He was lost, but now he is found. He had to share this news with others. He had to tell them how it came to be. He had been ashamed, but now he was without shame.

For us today, we too can be afflicted by our own personal leprosies, those things that we think separate us from our family, our friends, our community, our God. What might it take for us to drop to our knees and ask for the healing that is available from Jesus so that we can once again be whole? The leper in today’s story wanted this desperately. Do I?