Skip to main content

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2015

Our readings for this coming Sunday:This Sunday marks the end of our brief winter’s journey through Ordinary Time, and our readings serve as an appropriate transition to the Lenten season by addressing the issue of how we treat those who are sick and in need.  While we have an obligation to protect the greater population by separating out those who are sick, we sometimes forget that we also have an obligation to care for those in need.  Our readings this week give us the opportunity to examine these issues.

Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46
Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 11
1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1
Mark 1:40-45

Our first reading comes from the Book of Leviticus.  This second book of Moses takes its name from the priestly tribe of the Levites, for whom this book is a handbook for serving the Hebrew people.  Since this book is often referred to as “priestly law,” it is easy for us confuse this book as dealing with strictly religious matters.  On the contrary, the ancient Hebrews didn’t have any concept of “religious law” separate from “secular law.”  Levite priests not only dealt with matters of spirituality and worship, but they dealt with all issues of daily life, from preparing food, to business conduct, to healthcare and personal hygiene.  

This Sunday’s passage from Leviticus describes how those who are sick should be dealt with in the community.  In this case, a person with skin sores must be checked by the priest, and if determined to be leprosy, that person must make that known to the community (rending of garments, covering their face) and live apart from the community (making his abode outside the camp).  This wasn’t done to humiliate the individual, but rather to protect the remainder of the population.  It is a particularly interesting reading in light of our recent measles outbreak and discussion of childhood vaccination.

Though our first reading would seem to be harsh for the individual who is sick, our Psalm response is meant to be a “prescription” by reminding us that in times of trouble, we need to turn to the Lord.

Our second reading continues our study of Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians.  In this week’s short passage, Paul’s message is simple… don’t offend anyone, and live as imitators of Christ.  It is by living this way, Paul tells us, that we give glory to God.

Our Gospel from Mark picks up where we left off last week and brings Chapter 4 to a close.  Last week we saw Jesus preaching and healing a number of people, and realizing that he needed to head out to other towns and do the same.  This week we see Jesus meeting someone with leprosy, whom he cures.  Then, in keeping with Mosaic Law, instructs the person to go to the priest so that he can be certified as “clean” and rejoin the community.  Here we also see the beginning of what will be a running theme in Mark’s gospel:  Although Jesus gives the cured leper a warning not to tell anyone, the word gets out, bringing even larger crowds.  At this Jesus tries to seek refuge, yet the people still find him.

Final Thoughts:
While the Mosaic Law had every good intention for keeping the greater population free from disease, their law had some unfortunate side effects.  The application of that law, as practiced over the centuries, focused too much on separating the sick from the rest of the population while not focusing enough on the care of those who were sick.  Over time this created a marginalized underclass who were ostracized from the community and left to fend for themselves.  By curing these people, Jesus not only demonstrated his power from God, but reminds us that we must reach out to those in need.  Even today this is a challenge for us, as we strive to work with those suffering with illnesses like cancer and HIV.  Like Paul reminds us in our second reading, we need to imitate Christ, and show God’s love to those most in need.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Post-Lent review... How did you do?

Lent is now behind us, yet in our excitement for Easter (and for Lent being over), how often to you take a moment to look back at your Lenten journey to do a post-game review?

As a volunteer leader and business school graduate, the concept of doing a formal "review" after an event or activity is a long held important practice... one that, unfortunately, tends to get overlooked even at the highest levels.  Still, it remains a staple of standard practice, and for good reason... It affords those involved, and the entire organization, a chance to review everything after the fact... what went well, what didn't, and lay the groundwork for next time.  The same is true for looking back at our Lenten journey.  So... how did you do?

I have to be honest, I sometimes fail to practice what I preach.  For as important as a post-lenten review might be, I hadn't thought of the idea until now.  I didn't even really think about it until this morning when I read the following artic…

5th Sunday of Easter

What happens when you have too much of a good thing?  When a business wins that lucrative new contract or expands into a new location?  Or taking that same idea a bit closer to home, what happens when two families merge through marriage, or when a family welcomes a new child?  We consider this kind of growth to be a good thing, but as with all things, these successes also come with their own baggage.  Our readings for this 5th Sunday of Easter have our Apostles facing similar challenges in the face of their growing successes.

The Word for the 5th Sunday of Easter Acts 6:1-7
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
1 Peter 2:4-9
John 14:1-12

Our reading from Acts of the Apostles learning the hard way about the challenges that grow out of their continued success when their number of followers continues to grow.  Up to this point the Apostles have been doing their best to address the needs of the community, both spiritual and physical, but the community has grown so large now that they are becom…

3rd Sunday of Easter

Easter is about revelation!  On Easter Sunday we revealed that the tomb was found empty.  Last week Jesus revealed himself to the Apostles in the upper room, reminding us that “Blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe.”  This Third Sunday of Easter, Jesus is revealed through the breaking of the Bread.


The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Easter Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalm 16:2, 5, 7-11
1 Peter 1:17-21
Luke 24:13-35

In our first reading from Acts of the Apostles we have Peter, discovering his voice and standing before all of Jerusalem giving witness about who Jesus was and what happened there.  It’s both a reminder to those present who also witnessed these events, and a much necessary explanation for those who (like us) were not there (especially Luke’s primarily Gentile audience).  The heart of Peter’s message reminds us that this messiah was killed by his own people, but through that act, as prophesied by their greatest king, David, has been raised by God, and sends his Ho…