Sunday’s Gospel: The Healed Leper | 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 1)
The Gospel reading for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time: St. Mark the Evangelist focuses on Christ’s healing of an individual leper, and the command that the miracle remain secret. Unable to restrain himself, the leper proclaimed the advent of God to Israel, forcing Jesus to withdraw into ‘lonely places’ for the sake of his Mission.
St. Mark the Evangelist
On leaving the synagogue, Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
St. Mark the Evangelist
Lord, if you will, you can make me clean. He falls on his face, which is at once a gesture of lowliness and of shame, to show that every man should blush for the stains of his life.
But his shame did not stifle confession; he showed his wound, and begged for medicine, and the confession is full of devotion and of faith, for he refers the power to the will of the Lord.
For he said not, If you will, pray unto God, but, If you will, as thinking Him very God.
St. John Chrysostom
Further, the reason why He touches the leper, and did not confer health upon him by word alone, was, that it is said by Moses in the Law, that he who touches a leper, shall be unclean till the evening; that is, that He might show, that this uncleanness is a natural one, that the Law was not laid down for Him, but on account of mere men.
Furthermore, He shows that He Himself is the Lord of the Law; and the reason why He touched the leper, though the touch was not necessary to the working of the cure, was to show that He gives health, not as a servant, but as the Lord.
If any one wonders, how the Lord seems to approve of the Jewish sacrifice, which the Church rejects, let him remember, that He had not yet offered His own holocausts in His passion.
And it was not right that significative sacrifices should he taken away, before that which they signified was confirmed by the witness of the Apostles in their preaching, and by the faith of the believing people.
Now it may well be asked, why our Lord ordered His action to be concealed, and yet it could not be kept hid for an hour?
But it is to be observed, that the reason why, in doing a miracle, He ordered it to be kept secret, and yet for all that it was noised abroad, was, that His elect, following the example of His teaching, should wish indeed that in the great things which they do, they should remain concealed, but should nevertheless unwillingly be brought to light for the good of others.
Not then that He wished any thing to be done, which He was not able to bring about, but, by the authority of His teaching, He gave an example of what His members ought to wish for, and of what should happen to them even against their will.
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