January 12, 2017
Today’s gospel: Mark 1:40-45
Today’s gospel about the cleansing of a leper has much to teach us about the work of the New Evangelization, especially the need to meet Christ, live Christ and share Christ. The situation of lepers at the time of Jesus was that they were outcasts from society. Today the modern-day lepers are those who are estranged from God and are outside the full embrace of the Church. A big difference is that they are not being cast out or shunned, but in fact are fully accepted by the secular world.
What happened to the leper?
The leper met Jesus, acknowledged his lordship, and entered into a personal relationship with him, involving healing and cleansing. “A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, ‘If you wish, you can make me clean.’’ (v.40). He put his faith in Jesus.
Then the leper transitioned from meeting Jesus to starting to live his way of life, a life of purity and holiness. He experienced metanoia, a total transformation that changed his sorry condition to one of wholeness. “The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.” (v.42).
Finally, the leper started to share about Jesus and his goodness. “The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad” (v.45a). He could not contain his joy and gratitude. He had to proclaim the good news of his salvation at the hands of Jesus. No one could dissuade him, not even Jesus, who told him “See that you tell no one anything” (v.44a).
The leper’s life was completely transformed, completely turned around, as he encountered Jesus. This is what needs to happen as well to us all, especially to lapsed Catholics. Those who are in sin, who are outside the sheepfold, need to meet Christ anew. They need to experience the transforming hand of Jesus, repent of sin, put their faith in him, and start to live Christ in every way. And they have to share Christ to others. We in fact have been commanded to do so, as Jesus’ disciples. This is unlike the leper, who was commanded not to speak about what Jesus had done to him, but did so anyway.
As we live and share Christ, reaching out to the lost sheep, the Holy Spirit will empower us, and we will experience massive and widespread evangelization, as “people kept coming to him from everywhere.” (v.45d).
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God bless you all.
“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Phil 1:21)