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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Feb. 14

Bishop’s Reflections

February 12, 2021

Each week, Bishop Edward Malesic writes a Scripture reflection for the faithful. Follow the bishop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click HERE for the readings.

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Feb. 14

Leprosy was a dangerous and highly contagious disease in the ancient world that was difficult to treat and contain. In our first reading, certain laws attempted to protect the community from it.

In the Book of Leviticus, a person with a skin lesion is ordered to present him or herself to a priest, who would determine whether the affliction was leprosy or something less dangerous. However, if it was leprosy, the person needed to dwell apart from the community and shout out “unclean, unclean” if someone approached as a warning that a communicable disease was present.

This might sound a bit cruel for the individual, but it was a necessary remedy to protect the community.

Certainly this brings to mind the quarantines of the present pandemic. We are doing much to prevent the spread of a deadly virus. While it might bother some of us as individuals to stay apart and wear masks, the good of the community comes first.

But, Jesus, in the Gospel comes to a leper and actually touches him. This was an act of courage for those who witnessed it. And, because Jesus has divine power, the leper was healed, restored to his community, and made whole again in every possible way.

I think of those who go into our hospitals and nursing homes without fear of personal harm, our doctors and our nurses. I also think of our priests and chaplains who anoint those who are dying of dangerous and infectious diseases. These people have courage too! While no one should be forced to take unnecessary risks, some contact with those who are ill cannot be avoided.

But, in the end, the only one who can make us completely whole and healed both inside and out is Jesus. May those who help us on the outside by tending to our physical illnesses also lead us to Jesus who wants to make us clean again.

We are the people who must keep coming to Jesus from everywhere.

Have a blessed week everyone. And a good Lent to all of you.

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