1st Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday – 13th January 2022 — 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.
1st Week of Ordinary Time, Wednesday – 12th January 2022 — Gospel: Mark 1:29-39
Prayer for Discernment
The text of today is made up of three parts. In the first part (1,29-31), the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law and her hospitality as response. In the second part (1,32-34), numerous sick are brought to Jesus, who heals them all. In the third part (1,35-39), Jesus manifests his personal aspect, namely his prayer life. Despite a long and eventual day, Jesus rose early the next morning to seek solitude. Physically fueled as he was by the hospitality of Simon’s mother-in-law, he needed something more than a few extra hours of sleep. He needed the connection with his Father that prayer alone can provide. When the Apostles found Jesus and told him that everyone was looking for him, he responded with renewed purpose and they left to preach in the neighbouring villages throughout Galilee. Here the content of Jesus’ prayer seems to be discernment on whether he must stay or move on. While it would have been easier to stay because of the approval he receives here, as is evident from his disciples’ affirmation, yet Jesus opts to move on. Because Jesus sees this as his Father’s will. Mark makes clear on numerous occasions that nothing and no one can come between Jesus and his Father’s will.