We offer our thanks to God by doing what He asks of us
Reflections on the readings for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 14, 2021): LV 13:1-2,44-46; PS 32:1-2,5,11; 1 COR 10:31 – 11:1; MK 1:40-45
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Our Lord wanted to take His own time to reveal who He was. We all need to take Jesus’ words seriously. We need to pay attention to all we read in the Gospels about His message for the world.
The Gospel reading for this last Sunday before Lent speaks of suffering and healing, of isolation and inclusion. A leper who believes that Jesus has the power to heal him asks His help. Jesus reaches out to him and the leper is healed. However, Christ does not want news of this incident to be made generally known. “He said to him, ‘See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.’ The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly” (Mark 1:44-45).
Christ surely understood the excitement of the former leper who could not keep the story of his healing secret. The man probably wanted everyone he met to know that he was well and how it happened. He must have praised the name of Jesus wherever he when. It’s hard to blame him, knowing his suffering. In the Old Testament reading we learn that “The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garment rent.… He shall cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’… He shall dwell apart” (Leviticus 13:45-46). It must have been an agonizing way of life. Yet, we need to remember that Christ asked the man he cured to do the exact opposite. Our Lord wanted to take His own time to reveal who He was. We all need to take Jesus’ words seriously. We need to pay attention to all we read in the Gospels about His message for the world. Above all, He wants us to return God’s love and also love one another. Every aspect of our life must reflect the lessons Christ taught. We must not only have faith in our Savior – we must do what He asks of us.
Suggested missionary action: As we approach the start of Lent, we need to think about what we can “offer up” in order to grow spiritually. Whether we choose to give something up or to do something special – or both – let our decision actively encourage us to emulate the love and goodness of our Redeemer.