Leprosy was a disease that had a painful impact on the person infected by it. As the First Reading tells us, the person is treated as unclean, and shall live alone with their dwelling outside the camp. The person with leprosy is separated from the family and the community. This mirrors the impact of sin to a person because sin separates us from God and it breaks our bonds with our family and community. There is no such thing as a harmless sin, or sin that does not affect other people.
When the leper in the Gospel approached Jesus, he broke the Law because as we see in the First Reading, he was not supposed to enter the town and approach any one. Yet, Mark tells us, this leper came to Jesus begging him, and kneeling said to Jesus “If you choose, you can make me clean”. Instead of scolding this leper for breaking the Law, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him.
According to the Law, when someone or something unclean touches a person or an object, that person or object becomes unclean. The other person or object is contaminated. Yet, for Jesus, instead of being made unclean, he made the leper clean. This happens because Jesus takes on the effects of our sins and fills us with his holiness. This is what Jesus can do for us: to take the things that separate us from God and transform us into a new person.
St Paul tells us in the Second Reading whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. When we evangelize, we do not just keep to ourselves. When we evangelize, we go to the peripheries, where people who do not know God can hear about the good news. While we need to hearing someone preach to us, we are called to go out and preach the Gospel to other people, telling them of what God has done for us, and telling them that Jesus is calling them so he can heal them. The world, especially now, needs to hear that someone cares about them. With many who are isolated, without someone visiting them, there is this hunger for connecting with other people.
But we cannot do this unless we are transformed by Jesus Christ. The leper in the Gospel went out and began to proclaim [his healing] freely, and to spread the word. If you feel people have left you, come to Jesus, he will restore you to himself. If you are hurting from something you had done before, or from something someone has done to you, come to Jesus, so he can heal you. Let Jesus stretch out his hand to you and pronounce you as clean. It is the will of Jesus to heal us. It is the will of Jesus to make us whole. But it is up to us to respond to Jesus by coming to him and turning our lives to him.
Lord, I know you want to heal me. Here I am, I give you permission to reach out your hand to heal me. Make me whole O Lord, as I forgive the person who has hurt me. Bless them abundantly Lord. I forgive myself for what I had done. Heal me Jesus. Make me whole.