Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

Posté par diaconos le 10 février 2021

I do ! Be purified !


# Healing a leper is one of the miracles attributed to Jesus Christ. It is mentioned in the three synoptic gospels: Mt 8:1-4, Mk 1:40-45 and Lk 5:12-16. This healing refers to the forgiveness of sins. It concludes with the obligation of the messianic secret. Tzaraat is an evil that can affect a person’s flesh, clothes and walls, designating him or her as impure in the eyes of the community of Israel and which occurs as a result of a transgression. The person suffering from tzaraat is called metzora.

It is possible to purify oneself from Tza’arat by practicing a Korban. In this case, the ceremony in Leviticus 14 applies. One may not present oneself at the temple if one is affected by Tza’arat. In Matthew 8:2-3, tza’arat is mentioned, but in the English translation it is translated as « leprosy »: « And, behold, a leper (tza’arat) came and prostrated himself before him, and said, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said: « I will; be clean. Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy (tza’arat). After the person was cleansed with tza’arat, he could return to the Temple and make the sacrifice indicated in Leviticus for the cleansing of the tza’arat.


In Scripture, leprosy is a disease symbolically linked to slander (Num 12), to a bad relationship with the tongue, it is presented to us as the wound and the symbol of the evil that gnaws at man.  For a Jew, leprosy was a punishment from God, a disease he feared and dreaded. It is not leprosy itself that should hold our meditation today, but rather what is at stake in Jesus’ encounter with the leper. The suffering, the faith, the request of the sick person who comes to meet the One who is life!

Today there is no lack of leprosy, whether it be physical, psychological, social or moral. It affects people, from the poorest to the richest, on every continent.  Do we know how to recognise them ? Do we know if we suffer from the disease that corrupts the body, the heart or the mind?  The leprosy of the heart is the sin that distances us from the relationship of trust that we should have with God and with our neighbour, and today’s Gospel invites us to confront everything that destroys life : our own, that of others or of our communities. Who can claim to be spared ?

Let us therefore take the time to look at the leper and allow ourselves to be questioned by his every gesture.  The leper’s plea shows the trust he has in Jesus. There are situations in which the only help is this cry to God: « Lord, if you are willing, you can save me! « Faced with today’s leprosy, we will have the passage of the psalmist, who turns to God to cry out his suffering : « Lord, hear my prayer: let my cry reach you! Do not hide your face from me on the day when I am in distress » (Ps 101, 2-3a).

Certain of being heard by God, let us beg him to bring us closer to see his face, let us entrust to him our ruin, our anguish, and at the same time let us repeat our conviction to him : « You are here for ever, you are watching the land you love, you are listening to the cries of the prisoners, you are freeing those who had to die » (Ps 101, 13a.21).

Having pity on this man, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, defying the precepts of his people and his religion. No one before him had touched him or kissed him. When someone approached a leper, the leper cried out, « Impure ! Unclean !  » Jesus, by touching this leper, dared to break the taboo. He said : « I want him ! Be cleansed !

Jesus saves with a gesture, a word: this is the very principle of every sacrament. In this time of winter, in these difficult times of exclusion, pandemics, violence, are we ready to look at the lepers in our society, here at home, but also in many countries? Prayer, meditation and compassion are an essential step in our Christian life.

We must act, following the example of St. Paul who invites us to take him as a model : « Do as I do: in every circumstance I try to adapt myself to everyone ; I do not seek my own interest, but that of the multitude of men, that they may be saved. Take me as your model; my personal model is Christ.    » (2nd reading)

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian sites

◊ Catholic Productions : click here to read the paper →  The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

◊ Father Hanly : click here to read the paper →  Homily for 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Sunday Gospel Reflection for the Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B

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