Mark 1: 40-45
A leper came to him, begging on his knees, “If you want to, you can cleanse me.”
Deeply moved, Jesus put out his hand, touched him, and said, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there the leprosy was gone, his skin smooth and healthy. Jesus dismissed him with strict orders: “Say nothing to anyone. Take the offering for cleansing that Moses prescribed and present yourself to the priest. This will validate your healing to the people.” But as soon as the man was out of earshot, he told everyone he met what had happened, spreading the news all over town. So Jesus kept to out-of-the-way places, no longer able to move freely in and out of the city. But people found him, and came from all over.
This Sunday, we are asked to pray for the sick, and for the unemployed.
We are asked to turn our thoughts to those who are in need of help with their health, and those who are not able to find work. Each of these problems on its own is really difficult, but sometimes, illness and unemployment come together. Someone may not be able to do the job they had because of illness or injury, or they may not be able to get a job because of their health problems. The worry and financial problems caused by being out of work can also make people ill.
The illness the leper in this story has means he can’t live a ‘normal’ life. Leprosy was a disease with no cure, and people were terrified of catching it. The only way to deal with it was to keep the sick away from everyone else. This meant no family or friends to comfort you, and no work to earn a living. Jesus says he wants to cure this man – he’s not scared of the risk of touching him. Although Jesus tells him to keep the miracle to himself, he also tells him to go and show the priest he has been healed – so he has official proof he is safe to go back to his usual life.
The leper disobeys and runs around telling everyone, probably because he is so overjoyed. The fuss he made meant Jesus then had to cut himself off like the leper was before, just to get a bit of a break from people who wanted him to heal them. But we don’t hear any stories of Jesus saying it’s all too inconvenient and he’s not doing it any more. He wants to help. He says so. It’s why he came, and it’s all part of the sacrifice he makes for us.
Salesian Communications Worker
On 11th February 1858, Our Lady first appeared to St Bernadette at Lourdes, and for 160 years, people have been travelling to the same spot to pray for healing.
Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of Mercy, and our Mother,
Pray with us for all who are sick.
Be close to them and to those who love them and worry about them.
Ask God to give them health and peace.
Pray with us for those who need work.
Ask God to comfort them, keep them hopeful, and guide them to opportunity.
Pray for all of us - that we do all we can to create a world where everyone is cared for, valued, and given the opportunities they need.