Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Thoughts from our Pastor (Lev. 13:1-2 44-46; I Cor. 10:31 11:1; Mark 1:40-45)

The book of Leviticus paints a stark account of how someone with “leprous and unclean” skin was to be treated. They were “dwell apart” and (to make the situation MORE painful!) constantly call attention to their illness by crying out “unclean, unclean!” whenever someone was near them. It was an isolating, painful and humiliating experience for anyone with this type of illness. As is often the case with our sacred scriptures we are invited to see several layers to the message contained therein. Often the “infirmity” described in the account can represent states of being other than just the physical. It is not too great a push for us to understand that the “leprosy” described in today’s readings could include in its understanding a “state” of “being” – i.e. “isolating, painful, humiliating” – caused by our sinfulness. We might NOT have physical illness of leprosy BUT our actions/decisions that go against God’s will for us can and do cause the same result. We can cut ourselves off from the community and God by choosing a sinful path. If that be the case then we can better understand the added significance and symbolism of the physical illness. The great and encouraging message for us is that Christ comes to us to heal us, restore us and reunite us with the family from which we detach ourselves through sin. What a powerful message! We do NOT have to stumble along cut off from the body of Christ in painful isolation. Christ reaches out to us and heals our brokenness!. We enter into the season of Lent this week. It is time of being honest with ourselves. We enter more deeply into prayer, fasting and almsgiving with the belief, that we encounter Christ more fully and are able to better celebrate the liberating effects of Easter Sunday on ourselves and the world around us. Make these few weeks ahead be full of liberating and healing moments as we move toward Easter. Happy Lent! Father Shields

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