Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time of Year B

Posté par diaconos le 14 février 2021

Humility and discreetness

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# Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, a bacterium related to the agent responsible for tuberculosis, identified by the Norwegian Gerhard Armauer Hansen in 1873. It affects the peripheral nerves, skin and mucous membranes, causing severe disability. It is endemic in certain tropical countries (particularly in Asia). Leprosy is not very contagious. Leprosy was for a long time incurable and highly mutilating, leading in 1909, at the request of the Society for Exotic Pathology, to the « systematic exclusion of leprosy patients » and their grouping in leprosaria as an essential prophylactic measure.

Today, the disease can be treated with antibiotics; public health efforts are made to treat the sick, to provide prostheses to those cured, and to prevent the disease. Leprosy, a pathological reality, was filled with a morbid imagination which actively participated in its representation and perception, an imagination which illustrates what this disease inspired and still inspires today. Above all, it is necessary to observe the attitudes towards the disease directly inspired by religion, establishing that leprosy could be countered if strict rules were observed.


From the Gospel according to Saint Mark

At that time a leper came to Jesus and begged him, and falling down on his knees, said to him, « If you want to, you can make me clean. « Jesus, filled with compassion, stretched out his hand, touched him and said to him, « I want you to be cleansed. « Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Jesus sent him away immediately and said, « Be careful, say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and give what Moses commanded in the Law for your purification, so that it may be a testimony to the people. « And when he had gone, this man began to proclaim and spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer enter openly into a city, but stayed away in deserted places. But people came to him from everywhere. (1, 40-45)


Lord Jesus, I offer you my hands to do your work, I offer you my feet to follow your path, I offer you my eyes to see as you do, I offer you my tongue to speak your words, I offer you my intelligence so that you may think in me. I offer you my spirit so that you may pray in me, and above all I offer you my heart so that in me you may love the Father and all men, and I offer you all that I am so that you may grow in me, that you may be Christ, who lives, works and prays in me. Lord Jesus, make my heart a little more like yours every day ! Amen

TODAY In our prayer, how can we exercise our faith in the Lord? When presenting our requests to the Lord, let us address them to the conditional rather than the imperative. This is what the leper does in today’s Gospel.  Lord, you must purify me » or even: « Lord, purify me ! « He said, « If you want to… »

Prayer is above all a search for God’s will for us; let us trust that what the Lord wants for me is best for me. What does he want for me in my life today ? I can certainly have my own opinion on the matter, but I cannot impose it on him. Let the Lord answer our prayer knowing that he always answers my requests even if his answer is not always what I expected.

The greatness of Christ’s compassion seizes us in this passage. Where we would expect only repugnance for a disease as contagious and repulsive as leprosy, the Lord feels only compassion ! « Seized with compassion, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him.  » I may not meet lepers in my life, but there may be other human miseries that I can see around me and that can challenge me : the time-consuming person who demands my time and attention; the one who is unbearable because of his temperament or difficult character ; a dull person; the enemy who has hurt me and whom I must be able to forgive, so many situations in which I am called by the Lord to compassion and mercy.

Lord, give me the strength to approach these people with patience and charity.Jesus, after having done something extraordinary for this leper, receives praise and gratitude from this now healed man. He will even make him famous throughout the region. Jesus takes the opposite tack, moves away from the adulation of the crowd and stays away in deserted places. It is difficult to understand his strategy. Didn’t he come precisely to attract all men to him? Jesus chooses the path of humility and discretion in the good he does. He does not seek return or gratitude. He is simply content to do  good.

This is a beautiful lesson for us who so often seek rewards and compliments when we do a good deed. Let us follow Christ on this path of humility and discretion. Let us do everything in our daily lives for the glory of God! To Him the glory and all the credit for the good we do, since it is He who gives us the strength and the opportunities !

Lord Jesus, I want to renew in my prayer today my trust in you. Above all, I want to seek your will. Of course I have requests, but at the same time I do not want to impose them on you. If you want, you can grant them to me. I trust in you. I am moved by your example of compassion for this leper. Help me to exercise this beautiful virtue of compassion towards all those who, because of their misery, are unbearable to me. Help me to be an instrument of your love for them !

I thank you for your testimony of humility and discretion in accomplishing this miracle. I also want to love and serve today with humility and discretion, seeking only your greater glory in all my good works. Help me, Lord, to do good with great purity of intention. Let us present our requests to the Lord today on the conditional. Let us show compassion to someone whom I find it hard to bear, through an act of charity. Let us offer our good works today for the greater glory of the Lord.


◊ Deacon Michel Houyoux ; click here to read the paper  → Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

  Father Valan Arockiaswamy

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