Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

As Jesus touches the leper in today’s Gospel, He reaches out to touch all humanity. He brings healing and restores our true dignity. We are disciples of Jesus when, by our decisions and actions, we promote healing and restore the dignity of others.

  • To the point: By touching the leper, Jesus takes on the leper’s ritual uncleanness. Consequently, he must rain an outcast, living in “deserted places.” But this does not stop the people from “coming to him from everywhere.” In Jesus they recognize someone who freely, fearlessly touches everything that is human. They cannot stay away from the One who draws this close to them. Can we?
  • Connecting the Gospel (Mark 1: 40-45) to the first reading: The law described in the first reading functioned to protect the community from an uncontrollable, infectious disease: the leprous individual was to “dwell apart.” In the gospel Jesus, having “touched” the leper to heal him, made himself unclean according to Jewish law, and so he had to “remain outside in deserted places.”
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: “Outcasts” are not just those of long ago who have broken a legal taboo. Today there are those we have cast out: they may be members of the other political party, another religion, a foreign culture, even members of our own families, etc.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Mark 1: 40-45)

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”

O Healer, wounded by our sins, we kneel before you.
Reach out to us.  Like you did to the leper
Lay your hand upon us, and please heal us.
And from your abundant pity, send us, broken and ragged,
to fix our damaged Earth, eliminate the wars,
end social bias, and feed the hungry.
Caress your world. Use us to do it.

The First Reading

(Leviticus 13: 1-2, 44-46)

 “The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent
and his head bare and shall muffle his beard; he shall cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’”

Pollution! Wars! Discrimination! Trafficking!
O Divine Physician, give your healing touch.
Send us in your name and power
 to rid the world of all that is infected now.
Let nothing in this world remain outside your touch.

The Second Reading

(I Corinthians 10:31-11:1)

Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

Whether we eat or drink, or whether
we dig ditches, compose songs, feed the hungry, write books,
count stars in the skies, or in anything we do,
Holy Spirit, let us do everything for the glory of God.
Since in him we live and moveand have our being.

Copyright © 2024, Anne M. Osdieck

For reflection