Homily Sixth Sunday Year B Spiritual leprosy of sin

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Homily Sixth Sunday Year B

 

Reading 1: In those days, leprosy was a highly contagious disease. Because of lack of medical knowledge, they did not know how a person got leprosy, nor how it is communicated. So to protect the community, it was decided to isolate the leper from all contact with others. It is like COVID 19. Lepers had to warn others of their disease and remain in isolation. Today, leprosy is treatable and under control.

 

But what are we doing with spiritual leprosy, sin? The spread of aids, the use of heavy drugs, the easy access to pornography, the promiscuous life of pre-marital and extra marital sex, the quick money from fraud—these and others are the spiritual leprosy that can destroy us. Where leprosy today is contained and curable, the spiritual leprosy is destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world.

 

Leprosy made a person ritually unclean. Sin makes us unclean. It separates us or dampens our relationship with God. It is amazing how we are more concern about physical disease such as cancer and COVID 19 than about the spiritual cancer of sin. We rightfully go to great lengths to eradicate cancer, so that we can extend our human life for a few more months or years. But what do we do to eradicate the spiritual cancer of sin, so that we can live eternally with God?

 

We are going to enter into the grace season of Lent this week. Will we respond to Jesus’ invitation to repent, namely, to turn away from sin and turn more radically to God?

 

Gospel: The leper acts contrary to the restrictions of the first reading. He didn’t stay at a distance, crying unclean. He came in direct contact with Jesus. Can you imagine the reaction of all those around?  Jesus was moved with compassion. Jesus saw beyond the leprosy to the person himself. He saw the faith of the person. The leper knew he had no right to demand healing. “If you will, you can…” There was no doubt about Jesus’ healing power. But it was Jesus’ choice to heal him or not.

 

 

In his turn, Jesus tells the man that he has come to heal and set free those under the bondages of sin. Then Jesus does the unimaginable thing, he touched the leper. In the eyes of the Law, Jesus made himself ritually unclean. But in this gesture, Jesus was taking upon himself our sinfulness. As St Paul said: “He became sin for us.”

 

What is our spiritual leprosy which spiritually disfigures us in our relationship with Jesus and others? Just as the man came to Jesus with expectant faith, asking for a healing, so we need to recognize that Jesus wants to free us from the spiritual leprosy of our sins. But we must come to him.

 

There is another point in the Gospel. The man is told not to witness to others what Jesus did. Jesus had not yet died and risen. Lest that people should focus on part of Jesus mission and not the full reason for his coming, the man is admonished to focus on being certified free of leprosy by the high priest so that he can enter fully back into the community.

 

But the man did witness freely concerning the miracle. While the man was able to rejoin the community, Jesus had to isolate himself, the reversible in life styles.

 

Reading 2: “Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it for the glory of God.” In another place, Paul said: “Whatever you do in speech or in action, do it for the love of God, giving thanks to the Father through Jesus Christ.” The ordinary is changed by intention into something extraordinary. Everyday actions and common experiences are made grace moments, bringing us into the presence of God. Holiness consists, not in extraordinary sacrifices, but by living in the present moment, consciously seeking to please God in response for his love and blessings already received.

 

Paul says that the focus is not himself but others. In doing what he says he does he indicates that he is following the example of Christ. What if we made a conscious intention and be attentive to live this way? Would our life be different?

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