Returning to the community

February 15, 2015 – 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Leviticus 3:1-2,44-46; 1 Corinthians 10:31–11:1; Mark 1:40-45
Fr Fernando Torres, CMF
Claretian Publications

There is a new miracle in today’s reading. The Old Testament, and the culture of the time, considered sickness as not simply something physical, but something religious. Sickness, injustice, and death were consequences of sin. It did not even have to be necessarily the sin of the ill person, but it could be the sin of his or her parents. That is why the prophets describe sins as illnesses.

Sickness appears to be a condemnation and healing as a grace and blessing. The will of God is not really the death of the sinner, but his or her conversion. God’s promises consist of announcing the times of the Messiah, that is Christ, as times of full physical, spiritual, and moral health.

The ministry of Jesus is thus full of scenes of healings, of his healing the sick people who came to him to be cured. The healings of lepers were especially significant, since leprosy was an incurable sickness at the time. Christ appears, therefore, as a giver of health and of life.

The fact that he cures a leper is very significant, because by law lepers were segregated from the community. A person who is outside the community, in some way is denied his or her humanity, because human beings live in relationship and never separate from a network of family and friendships.

There is always a relationship between healing, forgiveness, and faith. The healing of a sick person is a symbol of a deeper healing. Jesus returns the sick person to his or her place in the community. That is, Jesus restores the person to full humanity. Sickness, always present in the human history, has a value of redemption. It is associated with the sorrows of Jesus, while the risen element is represented in the healing. At the end, life will be fully manifested and in the heavenly Jerusalem there will be no more sin or sickness.

For reflection

– Who is rejected or excluded from society nowadays? Why?
– How can you be signs of the healing of Jesus by including others in your circles and communities?

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