Engaging the Word: February 15, 2015
1st Reading: Leviticus 13: 1-2, 44-46
Responsorial: Psalms 32: 1-2, 5, 11
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 10: 31-33
Gospel: Mark 1: 40-45
The first reading this week may seem a little harsh, but what I think is important to take in is that the community is important. If one is contagious with a physical malady, a quarantine is not a bad idea. This is true as well if one has a bad attitude; it is usually not a good idea to rain on the parade or spoil the party. If one is feeling a little grumpy or irritable, maybe a little quiet time away is a good idea.
This reading from Leviticus is paired this week with Jesus healing a leper. It is worth noting that Jesus respects the Law. He heals the leper before sending him back to the group. Jesus cares about the health of the community, and he also cares about reuniting with the community those who have been separated from it.
Time with Jesus makes us fit for community. Jesus’ message of mercy and forgiveness is fundamental for healthy community life. Mercy and forgiveness are constitutive of the Gospel. If there were no mercy and forgiveness offered by God, then it would not be possible for us to stop, take stock of things, and then turn from our waywardness and step into the Kingdom of God. We need to experience ourselves as loved and forgiven sinners in order to fully enter into both the human community and the heavenly community.
The experience of healing and forgiveness prompts us as well to reach out to others. This theme was central to last week’s readings. When Peter’s mother-in-law is cured she immediately begins to serve others.
As we prepare to enter the season of Lent, let’s be sure to take some time away to be quiet with the Lord. To be still and receive his healing and forgiving touch. Let’s pray also that we receive the grace to reach out to others in need and share God’s love. We are made for one another. In finding our true identity let us work together and with our loving God to step into the Kingdom.
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