Gospel Reflection for February 12, 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A leper came to Jesus, imploring him urgently and kneeling as he spoke, “If you will, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched the man. Jesus said, “I will.  Be made clean.”

Mark 1.40-42

Lepers in Jesus’ time and until our century lived their lives apart from other people.  As the law cited in Sunday’s first reading prescribes, the lepers must live “outside the camp.”

In Sunday’s gospel an outsider’s plea for healing and inclusion calls Jesus to cross a boundary inscribed in Israel’s law.  The leper so moves Jesus with pity that he stretches out his hand, touches, and heals the man.  Jesus does what the law warns against.  He makes physical contact with the leper.  His touch expresses his will for this sufferer’s wholeness.

What unnecessary boundaries among people exist in your neighborhood or parish?

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