HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR I. (2)







HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR I.

THEME: JESUS OUR CAREGIVER.

BY: Fr. Karabari Paul.

‘If you will, you can make me clean.’

Leprosy in Biblical times was a terrible thing. We are not exactly sure what leprosy was. While it may have described what is known today as “Hansen’s Disease” (pigiri in Khana language), the word probably included other skin diseases as well. “The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp” (Leviticus 13:45-46).

The above quote gives us an idea of the stigmatization that lepers endured. Here, we can think of someone with ebola or even Covid19. Leprosy made a person ritually unclean. To touch a leper defiled a Jew almost as much as touching a dead person. Later, Jewish practice prescribed that while lepers might attend synagogue, they must be the first to enter and last to leave and must stay in a special compartment to isolate them from the other worshippers.

In the Gospel of today (Mark 1:40-45), a leper came to Jesu, kneeling down before him, saying, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Of course, Jesus healed him. Other people would have refused to go near the man because the law at the time forced those with leprosy to live alone. But Jesus moved with pity, reached out, and touched him, and instantly, the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.

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You have to believe that God is not ashamed of you for whatever you are going through. While the leper ignored the barrier and the associated stigma to approach Jesus, Jesus also never questioned his audacity. And the shameful story of the leper changed to a testimony. We may have different forms of leprosy today. Others may have rejected us, but He can not reject us. We must have confidence in our Caregiver.

Another significant thing about this passage is that Jesus takes our place; the very theme of redemption. Before the healing, the leper couldn’t move about freely. After the healing, the leper could move freely, but Jesus couldn’t. Jesus took the place of the leper so that the leper could be free. Do you still doubt God’s love for us?

Again, everyone we meet is struggling with something. We must have compassion like Jesus. You might be the only person they meet today who can ease their burden, just as Jesus was the only One willing to lift this man’s burden. The Bible says: ‘Carry each other’s burdens, and…you will fulfil the law of Christ’ (Galatians 6:2). But that shouldn’t make us feel under pressure. It doesn’t mean that we need to fix people’s situations for them. The ultimate burden-lifter is God. We can bring all our burdens to Him, and He lifts them off of our shoulders. We can carry other people’s burdens straight to the arms of our Father. So, let us be encouraging, compassionate, and understanding towards others. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God have mercy on us, heal our world and land, bless and protect us all through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning.

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