The Gospel Today
Thursday of the First Week of Ordinary Time
A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, 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.
Then 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. Leonides Jimmy T. Jesuro III)
The title of today’s Gospel is the Cleansing of a Leper. When I hear the term leper, I easily associate it with impurities. Lepers in the old times were ostracized in the community. In the Old Testament, there are only two instances in which God is shown to have cured a leper, in the Books of Numbers and Kings. During the time of Jesus Christ, He also showed the same mercy and compassion of His father, cleansing the leper as He did in the Gospel today. After the cure, He instructed the cured leper to show himself to the priest, in order for the priest to reinstate him into the religious community.
I want to zero in on the attitude of the cured leper. Instead of showing himself to the priest, he “went away and began to publicize the whole matter” (Mark 1:45) The cured leper cannot contain the good news from the Lord! He was cleansed and cured by no less than the Messiah, and he wanted to share such a blessing to as many people as he could, with praise and thanksgiving to the Lord who has saved him.
A little more than a decade ago, I took the licensure examination for secondary teachers. I was only doing self-review as I prepared for the said professional exam since I was already working on a full-time basis. Two months after I took the exam, results came out and luckily I was included in the list of passers. I felt so much joy inside me during that time because I felt I was really blessed by God to be able to pass the exam and my sacrifices had paid off!
Having received the good news and blessing from God, I could not contain it to myself but shared it with my parents, colleagues in work, and close friends who were surprised that I made it without them knowing that I took the said professional exam. With humility, I thanked the Lord for such a blessing which brought me to a number of beautiful work opportunities.
Like the leper in the Gospel, I was not able to keep the good news to myself. During our oath taking as professional teachers, I knew that the Lord had left me challenges: to become an effective and compassionate teacher to my students, and to make it a point to make Him known and loved by many.
Now that I am in priestly formation, the invitation for me is to be more discerning about the good news I will be sharing with my brethren. I shall continue to purify my intentions while in formation, and to be more docile in the messages of the Lord towards me, so that I can hear Him say, “Be made clean” (Mark 1:41).