SUNDAY HOMILY, 6TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME / YEAR B
THEME: “Lord, If you will, you can make me clean”
BY: Fr Justus Oruh
(a) We understand the state and how lepers were handled even till the time of Christ. A priest declares a leper unclean, he wears rags, with unkempt hairs. The most painful is that he must live outside the camp, alone outside the community of the people. If he must take a walk, he does that, ringing the bell shouting”unclean, unclean” so that people may give way. He is abandoned and separated from the people.
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(b) One of the lepers living in this condition saw in Christ the power to heal him and prayed him, Lord, if you will you can make me clean. A priest must have declared him unclean but now he meets THE PRIEST, The Most High Priest, who is Christ. God is always willing to give us good thing. “I will”, said Christ. He made him clean which enabled him to be reinstated in the camp, in the human community. His contact with the community was restored. Sin stinks like the leperousy. It separates us from the community of God and man, as Isaiah puts it, “but your sin have made a separation” (Isaiah 59:2). Through the ministry of the priest, and the sacraments, God brings about the cleansing and reestablishes us in the community of the Trinity and the communion of the saints. “Lord if you will you can make me clean.” This leper prayed like Jesus in the garden of Gersamane; “Father if you will, let this cup Passover me”. Praying like this makes our heart feel light even amid pains, knowing that God is able but let it be done according to His will.
(c) Apart from the concept of sin as leperousy, Christ using his hand to touch the smelling leperousy body, with the sores and decays shows the far God goes in His compassion. He identifies with us and reaches out to us even in our worst states of life. The expression “Jesus stretches out His hand” depicts how far God goes, that even if everyone abandones us, God does not abandon anybody. Our thoughts today go to all those stigmatized in the human community, people ostracized, people abandoned because they are infirm, people condemned and forgotten. God stretches His hand, also through men and women of good hearts. He touches us. He makes us clean, He is willing.
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