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Sunday, February 15, 2009

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6th Sunday Ordinary Time

Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46
1 Corinthians 10:31—11:1
Psalm 32
Mark 1:40-45

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out of touch?

The leper "shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp." —Leviticus 13:46

Those Israelites afflicted with leprosy still belonged to the people of Israel, but could not participate in society due to their contagious state. Whenever anyone came near, the lepers had to "cry out, 'Unclean, unclean!' " (Lv 13:45), so that others wouldn't catch what they had.

In Christian circles, modern-day lepers might include those who are divorced or separated, suffer from depression, have unruly or retarded children, have an "unequally-yoked" spouse, etc. These suffering leper-Christians come to church services, but find that they often must "dwell apart," because their fellow parishioners act as though they'll catch "leprosy" themselves by getting too closely involved.

"Jesus stretched out His hand, touched" a leper, and he was cured (Mk 1:41-42). If you are not a Church-leper, "imitate Christ" (1 Cor 11:1). Reach out to them, touch them, and restore them to full fellowship with the community.

If you are this kind of leper, take heart. Jesus especially identifies Himself with your condition (see Heb 13:12), so "go to Him outside the camp, bearing the insult which He bore" (Heb 13:13). He is "moved with pity" for you (Mk 1:41). He wills for you to be cured and restored in every way (Mk 1:41).

Prayer:  Father, work through me to make this "a year of favor" (Lk 4:19) for the outcast, the lowly, and the captives in my midst.

Promise:  "I try to please all in any way I can by seeking, not my own advantage, but that of the many, that they may be saved." —1 Cor 10:33

Praise:  Praise Jesus, "the Way, and the Truth, and the Life" (Jn 14:6), Who still embraces the lepers and shows them great mercy.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 11, 2008

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