Homily for the sixth Sunday of the year - Year B - Mk. 1:40-45


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"A leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, 'If you will, you can make me clean.' Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I will; be clean.' And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, and said to him, 'See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.' But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter."





Homily:


"A leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, 'If you will, you can make me clean.'"


Today, Jesus meets a leper. Or rather, a leper goes to see Jesus... A leper who firmly believes that Jesus can heal him: "If you will, you can make me clean." A leper who believes in the Omnipotence of He who was revealed to Israel by the Almighty Father on the day of the baptism of his Son! Many sick people of every kind had already sought out Jesus in order to be healed by him; Jesus' fame grows more and more, and it is this fame that is at the origin of the faith of this leper!


For almost two thousand years, the Church of Jesus Christ exists and progresses against wind and tide! The Christians of every age have always believed in the Omnipotence of God, from the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, who believed that the Holy Spirit would make her a mother while preserving her virginity, all the way to us, the Christians of today, living in the year 2003! It is true: we believe that God can do anything! We believe that God can give us health, not only to our sick bodies, but also to the Body of Christ, which is the Church!


Where is our faith in the Omnipotence of God? Do we truly believe that God can do anything? Do we firmly believe that God can give Peace to the world and Unity to his Church, if we ask him for it with faith and with confidence? If the Peace of the world is gravely threatened today, if Christians are divided into so many different confessions, is this not the result of our lack of faith? Let us not deceive ourselves: leprosy is everywhere! And this is not a pessimistic view of things: it is the harsh reality...


"Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I will; be clean.' And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean."


The faith of this leper is so great, his veneration for the Lord is so profound, that Jesus is moved... So much so that he stretches out his hand and touches the leper. This contact of Jesus' hand touching the leper is already a response of the Lord to the faith of his creature. For faith is that spiritual virtue that puts us in contact with God, thanks to supernatural grace and the virtue of charity. So, Jesus responds to the spiritual faith of the leper by corporeal contact: Jesus stretches out his hand and touches the leper! And, to explain his gesture, Jesus declares: "I will; be clean." Saint Mark concludes by saying: "And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean."


"And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, and said to him, 'See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.' But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter."


Jesus' renown is a good thing: it is thanks to it that the leper came to Jesus, firmly believing that the latter would heal him. But, due to original sin and the human perversion that followed it, the renown of Jesus can become an obstacle to the preaching of the Good News of Salvation that he came to bring to the world. Let us not forget that in every mass movement there are, in addition to those who are sincere, agitators and perverts of every kind who are always ready to divert a good cause to the service of dishonest ends...


"In medio stat virtus": virtue lies in a just middle, neither too much nor too little. Prudence is the mother of all the virtues. Jesus needs a certain renown; the Church, following him, also needs a certain renown. But all of this must be governed by the virtue of prudence. With Jesus, and like him, let us set aside some time for prayer and solitude in the midst of all the commotion and tumult of this world. Let us proclaim the Kingdom of God throughout the world, let us work for Peace in the world and for the Unity of the Church, but let us be sure to take the time to catch our spiritual breath!


May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary help us with her prayer, which is all-powerful over the Heart of God! May we receive today, through Her and with Her, the Body of Christ, in order to make us ardent apostles of the Gospel, in the Love of the Almighty Father!




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