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Theology for the common man

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Nowadays, unlike in ancient times, we know a lot about a leprosy, which was usually identified as every skin disease. And very well, because it was better to be on the safe side and do not fall in an irreversible catastrophe. Indeed, until quite not long time ago this incurable contagious illness decimated all populations and this is why the society made efficacious ways to stop it. And as a religious authority, it was a very indicate procedure of recognizing the disease and taking steps to separate the sick cases, was the responsibility of the priests. The first reading speaks exactly about it and Jesus refers to it as well. But it was not only about leprosy that the society was afraid of, it was more about a devastation the illness would cause to the society, touching of course also a sick person. The last one was isolated from his family and close friends; he had to signalize his approaching to a settlement asking for food; otherwise, the society has the permission to stone him in self-defense. The fate of both was sad: the society loosed a beloved member of the family, and the sick person was sentenced to isolation and civil death. The healing of the leper by Jesus shows that Jesus has power over the sickness and that He is the one who is able to restore the dignity of a man and his primordial order gathering all the people in a new form of community of the redeemed. The leprosy and its individual and social devastation defeated by Jesus represent more dangerous spiritual leprosy, a sin, which isolates us from God and others. Jesus has a special power over this spiritual constraint and when a man approaches Jesus with faith asking for healing (as this leper from the Gospel today), Jesus immediately respond to his request and cleansed him. The sacrament of penance and reconciliation brings him back to the community of redeemed people and allow him to profit from benefits of social life in a new spirit. Remember that especially when we feel constraint and alienated by sin.