Week 1 of Ordinary Time, Thursday – 16th January 2020 — Gospel: Mark 1:40-45
Beyond human perception
The healing of a leper is found in Synoptics (Mk 1,40-45; Mt 8,1-4; Lk 5,12-15), but both Matthew and Luke omit the emotional reactions of Jesus found in Mark. In all three accounts it is clear that the leper broke social conventions in his desperate attempt to get help. He breaks the law of purity of the Jewish society as he approached Jesus. Rather than recoiling from the leper, as many of his contemporaries might have done, Jesus responds to the leper with kindness and reaches out to touch the untouchable. The man was immediately cleansed from his leprosy, and Jesus helped to arrange for his social reintegration by directing him to go through the steps mandated by the law of Moses (Mk 1,44; cf. Lev 14,1-32). Jesus’ precedent action here is more direct, more immediate and consequently, more powerful. By touching the leper, Jesus bridges the gap between the clean and the unclean, and goes beyond the ordinary human perception of love. This bridging is a radical step to proclaim in action that everyone is welcomed to enter the kingdom of God.