Wednesday, January 16, 2019
THURSDAY, 1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
January 17, 2019 – THURSDAY, 1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
St. Anthony, Abbot
Heb 3: 7 – 14 / Mk 1: 40 - 45
Called the Patriarch of Monks, St. Anthony (251 – 356) retired to the desert at the age of 18. He was the first to establish rules for a community of monks.
From the 1st Reading: Heb 3: 12 – 13
So, brothers, be careful lest some of you come to have an evil and unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. Encourage one another, day by day, as long as it is called today.. Let no one become hardened in the deceitful way of sin.
Gospel Reading: Mk 1: 40 – 45
A leper came to Jesus and begged him, "If you want to, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I do want to; be clean." The leprosy left the man at once and he was made clean. As Jesus sent the man away, he sternly warned him, "Don't tell anyone about this, but go and show yourself to the priest, and for the cleansing bring the offering ordered by Moses; in this way you will give to them your testimony."
However, as soon as the man went out, he began spreading the news everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter any town. But even though he stayed in the rural areas, people came to him from everywhere.
In this Gospel passage, Jesus cures a leper who begged him to make him clean. Why clean? Leprosy was considered a very contagious disease; thus a leper had to live outside the town. Besides, they believed that leprosy was an affliction from God and the Jews considered lepers as unclean. Can you imagine how lepers lived isolated lives? It was a very unhappy and depressive life as they were separated from family, friends and all the villagers.
So, this leper, when he was made clean by Jesus, did not follow his command of not telling anyone. Instead he went around proclaiming the news everywhere, that he was made clean. His heart could not contain the joy of being freed from his suffering. He went on sharing what Jesus had done for him.
There are many lepers around us today, not necessarily physically sick with leprosy, but because of their situation in life, are isolated and made outcasts of society. The poor, the sick especially of HIV, the elderly, the uneducated, prisoners, etc. are just a few examples of those who are considered "lepers" and "untouchables" by people who look at themselves as clean.
Do we reach out to them so that in their suffering they will feel comforted, accepted and loved? How can we alleviate the sufferings and difficulties of these marginalized people around us?
The leper in the Gospel reading received a gratuitous gift of healing that made him proclaim God's goodness to him.. We, too, have received many gifts which have changed our lives. Have we ever thought of sharing them joyfully with others? Have we thanked the Giver of these gifts?
FINALLY, WE PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER, FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ASKED OUR PRAYERS AND FOR THOSE WHO NEED OUR PRAYERS THE MOST.
Have a good day!
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