This weekend, we continue reflecting on the Gospel according to Mark. We reflect upon Jesus miraculously healing a leper and then instructing him to tell only the priests. The leper, in turn, disobeys Jesus and publicizes his healing to the crowds.
The Church invites us to reflect on this Gospel passage in light of the first and second readings. The first reading gives us context for understanding leprosy. Isolating those with leprosy was good for the public health of the community, but in the time of Jesus being afflicted with leprosy was also a spiritual matter. If you were afflicted with leprosy, you could not go to worship. Thus, being afflicted with leprosy meant a disruption in your relationship with God. Leprosy then, is a powerful image of sin. It gradually takes hold of a person, and even those around them become affected after prolonged exposure.
The second reading continues with the idea that our actions have outward effects. It is important to not only consider the good our actions do for us, but also how they can impact others. Effectively, this means there are certain actions we should avoid doing, not because they are bad, but because they may be a source of scandal for others growing in their faith. For example, living a life of extreme luxury without any sense of simplicity or solidarity with the poor can lead to scandal. Others may have a misunderstanding of virtue or be confused on how to live as a Catholic.
It can become easy to feel distant from the sufferings of the poor. That distance can be so great that we fail to recognize that the poor can sometimes be us! The poor can have Christ in their hearts and authentically live from that place of deep freedom, while we can live in a disposition of scarcity despite being blessed abundantly by the Lord. Mother Teresa acknowledged this by saying “The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”
This weekend is also significant because Bishop Hicks is coming to dedicate our new Adoration Chapel. My invitation is for us to recognize that perhaps we don’t have leprosy in the physical sense. However, in the spiritual sense, we need his healing touch. Christ in the Eucharist is going to be in our Adoration Chapel. If you desire him and go to pour out your heart, Christ can heal and change you- even in one weekend! Christ is willing to meet us in our poverty, and he has been waiting for us our entire lives. This applies to those who rarely frequent adoration, as well as those like myself who go every day. I will leave you to reflect on this theme in general: Have you have been living from a place of scarcity with the Lord? And if so, what is he inviting you to do about it?