On the Road Together for February 10&11
On the Road Together
For February 10&11, 2018
by Tracy Rodenborn, Director of RCIA
I absolve you of your sins...
You might be familiar with the neighborhood app/website called Nextdoor. It is a means to connect with your neighbors by postings of events, items for sale, missing pets, etc. Last week, there was an unexpected message about a drug bust in our neighborhood - a growing operation right around the corner. That being big news to me, I clicked on the article to find out more, which house it was, and who it might be. When the article appeared, there was the booking picture of the person present at the house at the time of the raid.
I cannot get that photo of the young woman out of my head. Her countenance, her eyes, her hair – all bespoke a pretty tough life at the age of 21. I am not sure what I expected to think or feel when I read that article, but I was surprised that I really felt sadness and compassion that this young woman’s life which probably is not going the way she and those she loves had hoped it would. Reflecting on her photo led me to consider the healing spree Jesus is on at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel and of the deep human need we all have for healing.
Words from this weekend’s Gospel came to my mind, “If you wish, you can make me clean,” said by a leper who bravely approaches Jesus. And Jesus’ response, “I do will it. Be made clean.” At this point in Mark’s Gospel, still the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He is in a pretty big hurry to perform His mission of preaching and healing. We hear of many general healings, like last week when the whole town was at His door and He healed them, but we also get some details about specific ones - like the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law for example. Here with the leper, we get another specific healing story again – and what a story it is! Marvelous on both the leper’s end and marvelous on Jesus’ end.
If we could have even an ounce of the leper’s humility and faith here, we would be in good shape. The plight of being a leper with open sores in the Jewish community was dire. They were totally separated from the community, and in some instances, exiled to a deserted place. One can imagine how much a leper would desire both physical healing and restoration back to those he/she loved. With so strong a desire for healing, the humility of the leper is so striking – “If you wish, you can make me clean.” His faith: I know Jesus that you
heal me. His humility: though I do not expect it, but will hope that you would do that for
Marvelous on Jesus’ part – It is not often that we get a clue about what Jesus is thinking, but here, Mark tells us that Jesus is moved with pity, or compassion as translated elsewhere. Jesus does not first ask him how many years he smoked, who his parents were, if he had been married before being with his current spouse, if he was growing marijuana plants in his house, or what side of the town he was from. Jesus, moved with pity, stretched out his hand,
him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” In the Gospel we heard last week, Jesus grasped Simon’s mother-in-law’s hand (again recall she had a fever) and this week, He touches a leper with open sores. Jesus’ actual touch is important here again this week and we continue to look for this in Mark’s Gospel and reflect on its significance.
As we confess with the leper, “If you wish, you can make me clean” we also hear Jesus’ answer in another form every time we receive the sacrament of Reconciliation in the words of absolution:
God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of your son,
you have reconciled the world to yourself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins.
Through the ministry of the church, may God grant you pardon and peace.
And I absolve you of your sins,
in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
In other words, we hear what the leper hears, "I will do it. Be made clean."
Readings for Mass
Sent by Beverly Aviles on Friday, February 9 at 1:52PM