February 14, 2021: Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading Mark 1: 40-45
A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. He said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted place, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
This Gospel always makes me wonder what Jesus was thinking. With each passing year, I reflect a little more deeply upon the mystery that when He walked the earth, Jesus was fully God and fully man.
Jesus knew what was in the man’s heart. That must mean Jesus knew what the man was considering if he were granted healing. Jesus must have said tell no one knowing full well the man might publicize the cure.
I believe Jesus knew what the man’s painful suffering had cost him in life. Jesus knew too the man’s faith and where his gratitude might take him. In this light, Jesus in effect says, “Mosaic law proof is good enough for them.” Jesus defines the boundary of duty.
I believe Jesus was giving a reminder that after duty was fulfilled, one is free to explore and choose what it truly means to live in a community’s love.
Getting back to the man’s perspective, he freely chose to walk giving and receiving God’s love by sharing the miracle of his healing. He chose the peace and joy of choosing to live in kindness.
Have you ever watched a child being taught to share? At first, the perhaps unhappy child does it because the adult tells him/her to do so. One day, that very same child looks to another and chooses to share. The adult marvels at the child’s joy. This week, let us all catch ourselves as we notice a need. Instead of responding in duty, let us freely choose to respond in love.