“Be Made Clean”
Sorry for my absence over the past few months, there are no excuses except my lack of inspiration/procrastination. I was preparing a post for Advent and that sort of just fell through…I may post it eventually anyway, but for now, I really want to reflect on the symmetry of the old and new testaments really seen in today’s mass readings…
Today’s first reading was about the Lord instructing His people on how to approach leprosy. The Lord made it clear to the people that leprosy is unclean and people who have it should segregate themselves from society. As my priest addressed in his homily, this included any and all diseases of the skin that are mostly curable in today’s society but back then were not understood. The old testament was strict in this sense and it’s only in understanding the culture of the old testament that we can clearly understand how remarkable Jesus’s acts of love for us were. He was so radical in His love for us that he healed the sick and “unclean” of society, people that by God’s Word were not to be integrated into society and were cast out. Jesus, knowing this, loves every single person similarly and did not punish the leper for approaching Him, but instead, cured him. This shows us how Jesus is the answer in so many ways. He changed the way people thought and acted and interacted with each other. He challenged everything we knew as a society and gave us the greatest gift of all — Love. We know that God is Love, but the relationship Jesus introduced us to was so new and so life-altering that most people could not accept that. This is another reason the readings today fit together wonderfully: right in the middle of the two extremely different ways of interacting with lepers is St. Paul. St. Paul, a man who crucified followers of Jesus and underwent such a strong conversion that he preached God’s word and converted so many, knowing the consequences of these actions WAY too well. St. Paul says: “Brothers and sisters: Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31). He implies that every act and whatever laws you are following, you must do them for God first. This really spoke to me today because I have been struggling in a few areas of my life and I really need to put God back in the center. When we look at these three messages from the Bible today, I see God protecting His people, Jesus curing His people by showing great love, and St. Paul spreading the message and love of the Lord. We need to take the love the Lord gives us and spread it to others, showing them that we are one in Christ and must all be treated equally as we are seen in His eyes. While this may be difficult for us all to digest, it is important to make moves to accept all people and just love each other. This may seem mushy and too silly to some but think about this: Love was a radical idea in Jesus’s time. Equality was a radical idea. Today’s society emphasizes equality so much, but do we practice it? Sure we push for racial equality, for gender equality, for religious equality, but is it really so difficult for us to attain economic equality? We tend to not show love to the “lepers” of our society, like the homeless and this may be a radical issue, but for Jesus, no issue was too radical and we need to continue what He started. Little acts go a long way, and we can make a difference one act at a time…
This post took a different direction than I originally intended, but I suppose this was His intention.
All my love and prayers,
“[Jesus] stretched out His hand, touched him, and said,…’Be made clean'”
– Mark 1:40-45