If you will, you can cure me
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK
Lev. 13:1-2.44-46, 1 Cor. 10:31–11:1, Mk 1:40-45: On this Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B, the Church invites us to connect to Jesus and imitate Him in His concern and care for the sick and dejected. We need to connect with others, to be in communion with them. We do not like to feel isolated or cut off from family, friends, or the wider community. One of the most challenging aspects of sickness or disability can be the isolation that it brings. When we are ill or our body grows weak we cannot take the same initiative we used to take to connect with others. People can become housebound because of their physical condition; the things they used to do to meet up with others are no longer possible. Certain forms of illness can be more isolating than others. The most isolating form of illness in the time of Jesus was leprosy. To prevent further spread of the disease, lepers had to be isolated. Today’s first reading describes the plight of the lepers for they were only allowed to have each other for company. They lived apart “outside the camp” from their family, friends and the community to which they belonged.
The leper in today’s Gospel seems determined to break out of his isolation, by making an unconventional and daring approaching to Jesus: “If you want to, you can cure me.” His desperation to be healed of an illness that kept him totally isolated drove him to do something that was against the Jewish Law at the time. In response to the leper’s daring approach, Jesus also made an unconventional step to attend to the need of the leper and touched him. If it was forbidden for a leper to approach the healthy, it was certainly forbidden for a healthy to touch a leper. It seems that the leper’s desire to be freed from his isolation was met by an equally strong desire on the part of Jesus to deliver the leper from his isolation. The Gospels pictures Jesus as one who is interested in breaking the bondage that keep us in isolation. Jesus and the leper have something to say to us about steps we can take to connect with people, to break out of our isolation, even when the odds seem to be stacked against us. It was desperation that drove the leper to seek out Jesus. Sometimes, we also need a sought of desperation that will get us going, gets us connected with that person who matters to us and to whom we matter more than we realise or gets us to link up with some gathering or some group that has the potential to do us good and transform our lives.
May the Lord touch our life, heal us and restore us to the household of God, so that we may continue to see His mercy and show similar mercy towards those whom the society rejects! Amen!! Happy Sunday!!!