1st Reading: 1 Samuel : 4:1-11
Gospel of Mark 1:40-45 Reflection:
Today’s readings are about God deserting us and we in our turn asking for help. In the first reading the Philistine’s defeat Israel in battle and even the Ark of the Covenant is lost. This is a time of great despair for the Israelites; they have lost everything.
In the Gospel, the leper comes to Jesus. He too has lost everything. Leprosy brought exile, hatred and contempt and was seen as a curse from God.
In the first reading the Israelites ask why God has deserted them and it is reasonable to assume that many times the leper would have asked himself ‘what have I done to deserve this?’
But the Gospel also gives the answer to this dilemma. The leper says to Jesus, “If you want you can cure me.”
The leper knows that no matter what he has done wrong in the past, Jesus can make him well. Their understanding of sickness was different from ours but spiritual sickness can only be cured by forgiveness and love. The amount of forgiveness and love needed can only come from God.
For the Jews, God was a God who was directly involved in their history. The leper experienced God in ‘his story’ in a very profound way. If we ask and desire healing we shall experience God as a healer and helper.
We are in to Ordinary Time now, but even in ordinary time God is not absent. There are still plenty of areas of my life where I suffer from the leprosy of forgiveness and anger etc.
I still need his saving help.