The Gospel Today
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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 the 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 places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
Reflection (Sem. Mark Ian Abu):
One of the many things among the works of Jesus when He was still on earth is to heal sick people. There are several stories of healing in the Sacred Scriptures which shows that people who are ill is one of the priorities of Jesus; mainly because they are vulnerable and really need the help and assistance. Yet, we can observe that in all these healing situations there are two things that are involved. First, of course is the healing power of Jesus brought by His compassion and love and secondly, the cooperation of the one who needs to be healed by his asking for help or by his faith that he will be cured. It is much like the story of the leper in today’s Gospel. It was the leper who came to Jesus and asked if He can heal him. The leper was fully aware that he is sick and that he needs help to be cured. There was an acceptance on his part that by himself he cannot do anything and that he was in need of somebody who can do something about it. This is a manifestation of humility and a manifestation of embracing the reality that there are moments in our life that we too, despite all the powers and wealth that we have, still need the assistance of others. This is true not only for sick people but also in times that we commit sin and wrongdoing. It is very hard to ask for forgiveness if there is no acceptance whenever we do something wrong to others. True forgiveness and healing comes only when we are resolved to embrace the reality that we have sinned and that we are sick.
Last December, we accompanied my father for a biopsy procedure on a small growth (like tumor) found in his lungs. Personally, I found it hard to convince him that he needed that procedure in order to really know what the growth is doing there. He had many excuses just to forego of the process like the cost involve, that he is okay and still can manage, that it will be very painful for him and others. We took a long time to explain to him that he really needed to have biopsy because that was the only way to know what is that growth there according to the doctors. Eventually we were able to let him realize that it was for his own good and he gave his consent to undergo the procedure. This experience is an example of how hard it is to acquire healing if there would be no acceptance of one’s sickness. My father was in denial that he was sick and would always tell us that he doesn’t need any procedure to be cured. But after convincing and making him realize that he was really sick and when he formally embraced that reality, it was easy for him to through the process. After the procedure, we were very thankful that there was nothing malignant found in that growth and it can be cured by taking medicines. Same as true with all of us, we may not be physically sick but we cannot deny the fact that there are times when we feel very ill because of the sins that we have committed. Let us always remember that forgiveness is always at hand and can be obtained as long as we are sincere of our repentance. This requires full acceptance that we have sinned and that we are sick.
Towards the end of the reading, the leper was very excited to spread to others that he was cured already even when Jesus told him not to tell it to anyone. I would say that this act of sharing with others the joy of being healed is just a normal reaction of a person who received something great and important. This is a manifestation that the good things that we receive should be shared with others not because we will gain something from it but for the reason that happiness and joy is meant to be shared to others in order to be an inspiration and an invitation that good things are still possible to happen. When I received the news that the result of my father’s biopsy was negative, I immediately texted relatives and friends and thanked them for their prayers and support. I was very excited in telling them that I am very grateful for this great gift from God. When my father knew the result, he cried and told me to offer a Mass of thanksgiving – a sign of his gratefulness for the healing he obtained from God.