First Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 1-12-23, Year A
Readings: First Reading 1 Heb 3:7-14; Ps 95:6-7c,8-11; Gospel Mk 1:40-45
Theme: Partners in Christ
The Holy Spirit is all about making us partners in Christ. Through the Holy Spirit, we share in Christ’s three-fold office of priest, prophet, and king. As Christ helped others, so we too can help others. It is our joy to do so, and it brings us closer to Christ and one another.
When the Holy Spirit speaks, He speaks to each of us as individuals, yet His prompting is not meant for the profit of us as individuals alone. When the Holy Spirit speaks to us and prompts us into acting, it is almost always for the benefit of others, and in doing so, we benefit ourselves. Think about those times when you did something spontaneous that helped someone who needed it. Your listening to the Spirit, who prompted you into action, helped another person in a way that they needed. You, yourself, benefited from the graces of helping that person because you made a choice to do so. You made someone else’s life better, and in doing so made your life better.
The Leper, through his faith in Jesus, prayed to Him to be healed, believing completely in Jesus’s ability to do so. Jesus, recognizing his faith, healed him. Even after Jesus told him not to tell anyone, he could not contain himself and went about telling everyone what had happened to him. He evangelized to the people and Jesus was made known, albeit not in the fashion that Mark’s Jesus wanted Him to be known.
Mark’s Gospel is about the “suffering servant” and the ignorance of his disciples to not know who He was, right up until His resurrection when they finally understood.
Did the Leper disobey Jesus by spreading the miracle of his cure to all those in the surrounding villages? If you look at it from the perspective that he was promoting a new “wonder worker” or “magician” in their midst, which is precisely what Jesus did not want, then maybe.
I like to think that the Leper, prompted by the Holy Spirit, was so filled with happiness that he could not contain himself and wanted his brothers and sisters to know that their Savior was in their midst. How could someone keep such a light under a bushel basket?
The leper’s faith is genuine in that he knew who Jesus was and what he had the power to do. He wanted to be a partner with Christ in the healing of the minds and bodies of others through true faith. The leper was not selfish and did not keep Jesus to himself so that he might have something others did not. Yes, his actions brought more suffering to Jesus through service to all those who came to Him for healing. That is exactly the point of Mark’s Gospel and the suffering servant whom Jesus was. He suffered for us so we might have salvation.
We should be like the Leper, spreading Jesus’s miracle stories and helping others come to understand who Jesus really is. In doing so, we become partners in Christ, helping our neighbors get to heaven.