6th Sunday in Ordinary Time “B”
Lv 13:1-2, 44-46; Ps 32:1-11; 1 Cor 10:31—11:1; Mk 1:40-45
February 14, 2021
The Scriptures today show us a good example of how the Judeo-Christian understanding of God had progressed over the ages. Remember that this is not GOD changing, but rather the peoples’ understanding of God. The state of human understanding took many centuries to mature in their appreciation of the God who is pursuing them.
We see in the first reading from Leviticus that it was common practice to expel a leper from the community, not just because of the fear of a contagious disease, but because of the person’s presumed spiritual impurity. His only remedy for exoneration was to be reapproved and declared clean by the priest. What a lonely, hopeless destiny that must have been. Leviticus chapter 14 explains what Jesus and Moses prescribed for the leper. Read this chapter very slowly….
Flash forward about 18 centuries and we see Jesus Christ inaugurating a whole new priesthood with a new type of authority and a new level of compassion. Since sin is the perceived cause of an illness, the fact that the leper is healed by the hand and command of Jesus, it demonstrates that Jesus is able to forgive sins and hence must be God.
Eventually through God’s guidance into the fields of modern medicine, we now know that there are also specific biological irregularities which contribute to most diseases and ailments. However, the consistent biblical insight that there are strong spiritual implications to illness is still an extremely important truth that we moderns are all too likely to overlook.
Spiritual healing is an essential aspect of holy and healthy living. The sacraments of healing in the Catholic Church are Reconciliation and the Sacrament of the Sick. Immediately prior to receiving the Eucharist, we recite “Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” Hence, Eucharist is also a valuable source of healing.
The Church requires Sunday Mass every week because we NEED it; ideally one should worthily receive the Eucharist at Mass. We always begin the Mass with the penitential rite which absolves all venial sins. If still not sufficiently reconciled, then one should confess mortal sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. All this is to lead us to ever greater holiness and the joy that comes with it. If we are then not leaping out of the church to tell the whole world about the power of healing, we should always be ready to share our reason for joy and confidence even in times of great struggle. The ongoing understanding of the connection between reconciliation, healing and joy are always essential to a well-lived life.
This Sunday, February 14th is designated World Marriage Day. Marriage is often referred to as the school of forgiveness. Forgiveness is just likely to be the most important skill that a couple, or anyone, can ever develop. Most couples learn to appreciate the ongoing need for reconciliation and the joy that comes from it. Marriage is the most common vocation in the Church and surely one of the most essential to maintaining a holy Church and a stable society. Today I would like to invite those married couples who are here today to now stand for a special blessing. If you are ready to renew you marriage promises you may do so and I will ask you to repeat at the proper time.