A HOMILY FOR THE SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “B” – 2/15/15 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and Goodness to you this day!
We’ve got to be very clear today about what leprosy is and how deadly the disease was and is. Thank God, most of us today do not know anyone who has leprosy. We don’t have leper colonies anywhere in the United States. They don’t advertise drugs and medicines for leprosy on TV, like they do for other major ailments and diseases. But we know that leprosy still exists. There are still many parts of the world where leprosy is very real and still very contagious. Two-thousand years ago, in Jesus’ time, leprosy was the worst thing that could possible happen to you. There was nothing worse! It started with sores that became scabs, as defined for us in our first reading from Leviticus. And it ended with your body literally rotting and falling apart, with you still in it. Two-thousand years ago, it wasn’t cancer, or AIDS, or the Ebola virus, or Alzheimer’s, that people feared the most. It was leprosy!
And so, leprosy is and was a very big deal. As we heard in the first reading, there were actually rules and Jewish law on protecting the community from leprosy. This was a horrible disease and situation. This is not a hang nail, or a pimple, or a sunburn that Jesus is healing here. This was the worst thing that could happen to a person! This man comes to Jesus, and remember, he was supposed to stay away, he was supposed to stay far off and yell “Unclean! Unclean!”, but he comes to Jesus and say, “IF you wish, IF you wish, you can make me clean! This guy has got a lot of Faith, but he also has a lot of guts asking Jesus for this miracle. Jesus does will it, as we just heard. And the man is once again made whole!
This reminds us that our God doesn’t just do “little” miracles, but that God does awesome things every day. There was a reason why this man with leprosy turned to Jesus. He knew that He could help him. I wonder, how’s our trust in God? Do we turn to Him for big things and for small things? If we just found out that we had leprosy, or cancer, or AIDS, or Alzheimer’s, would we be able to go to God and trust Him that it was going to be alright? We need that kind of Faith!
The other very important part of this Gospel, is what happens have this man is healed. You’ve just been healed of leprosy, so what are YOU going to DO NEXT? I’m going to Disney World! No, that’s not what happened. But even after Jesus sternly tells the man not to tell anybody anything about this, the man goes off and tells everybody! Now, maybe none of us can be very surprised at this. This man has just been given his life back. He’s been healed! This is better than winning the lottery, or being given a million dollars, or having Publisher’s Clearing House show up at your front door. There’s no way that this man is going to be quiet about this! Perhaps, maybe he shouldn’t have been quiet about it! Jesus has done an incredible thing for this man! And he can’t be quiet!
The second part of this Gospel makes me think about why aren’t we talking more about what Jesus has done for us. True, most of us haven’t been healed of leprosy. But all of us have been forgiven of our sins and had the door to Heaven opened up for us. That’s pretty incredible stuff also. How can we be quiet about what Jesus has done for us? The answer of course is that we shouldn’t be quiet about it. People need to hear the story and know what Jesus has done, and come to the knowledge that His love and mercy are the greatest things in the whole world! I get all excited over Reese’s Peanut Butter cups! And yet, what Jesus is offering us is so much better than chocolate and peanut butter!
Like the leper in today’s Gospel, let us realize the incredible things that our Lord has done for each one of us. We need to be grateful! We need to acknowledge His power and might over everything! We need to trust Him more and rely on Him more! This leper was given his life back. The truth of the matter is, that today, so have all of us! Let us be grateful and share the good news!
+ May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!