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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Leper Unclean

Thoughts about today's readings..

In both the first and the Gospel readings, we are faced with two approaches to lepers. They were outcast in the Old Testament, and as was explained in the Sunday homily at our parish, the priest acts as a judge to decide whether someone afflicted with suspected leprosy actually had it and must therefore live apart. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ our High Priest acts as a healer. In stark contrast with the casting out of lepers in the first reading, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched the leper. He didn't have to. With but a thought and a declaration, he could have cured the leper as he had done a number of times. But here, where it would perhaps raise the most eyebrows, he touches the afflicted. Our Lord is trying to tell us something. As our deacon explained in his homily, compassion makes another person's pain one's own. It is more than sympathy, because compassion is about getting involved, a personal investment, and it actually does something about the situation.

Please also check out Fr. Paul Scalia explaining these readings over at Catholic Exchange. Dr. Marcelino D'Ambrosio also provides reflections on suffering based on this story in the Gospels. As always, CE provides insightful reading.

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