‘If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I will; be 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 First Reading says “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).


This gives us an idea of the stigmatization that lepers endured. 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 him and knelt before Jesus, saying “Lord, 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 compassion reached out and touched him and instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.

You have to believe that God is not ashamed of you for whatever you are going through. And no religious, cultural, social or political law can stop Him from doing what He will do for you. Others may have rejected you but He cannot reject you. You must have confidence in God as your burden-lifter. He cares for you in a way no other does. Obviously, the leper was so used to rejection that he almost projected it to Jesus, thinking He would turn him down like every other person. Most people are controlled by their bitter experience and disappointment. Some have lost confidence in our common humanity. And you do not have to be irritated when they approach you. Jesus indicated He was more than willing to change the leper’s condition and story.

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; let us be burden-lifters.

Everyone we meet is struggling with something. Maybe they are hurting from something that has been done to them. People especially the rejected had confidence in Jesus because He saw the best in people; He went out of His way to be gracious to them and remove their burdens.

The most important part of this message is the spiritual implication of Jesus’s action. Before the healing, the leper was the one who could not move about and associate freely. He was the one with social stigma. Jesus effected his healing with a warning never to tell anyone except to show himself to the priest for proper certification and reintegration. But the leper took that warning for granted. As a result, Jesus couldn’t move freely again. He took the place of the leper and the leper regained freedom. It is exactly what He does for us. He became man that we might become divine. He bore our sorrow that we might have joy, He died that we might live. Because leprosy was so visible and involved the decay or corruption of the body, it served as an excellent symbol of sinfulness. Sin corrupts someone spiritually the way leprosy corrupts someone physically. Since, like the leper in this story, we can’t heal ourselves, Jesus has come to take our place. From last week, we have taken some symbolic readings meant to introduce us to the Season of Lent. They point to the work of redemption by Jesus through sacramental signs. The Church is a mother. Lent begins this Wednesday. Jesus’ action will come alive in our liturgical life not any less than it has been. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God have mercy on us, heal our world, bless and protect us all through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning



Dearest Friend of Homily Hub, We need about $1350 to pay up our subscription debts. We do not only publish the Word of God, we also have a charity Foundation. We accept donations as low as $5. Please, listen to the voice of God in your heart, you could be an answer to our prayers to God. You can also send checks. Fill the simple form below to Donate>>>