SERMON ON MARK 1: 35-44
Saturday of Souls, March 27, 2021
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
In this morning’s Gospel we heard these words:
Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.
The encounter with the leper must have taken place as Jesus and His disciples were walking between towns, because lepers were required by the Law of Moses to wear loose garments, have their heads uncovered, wear a mask over their mouths, and live isolated, outside of the towns and villages (see Leviticus 13: 45-46 LXX). According to the text, the leper was the one who sought Jesus. Doubtless the leper communities had also heard the reports that Jesus had been casting out demons in the neighboring towns, but only this one man had the courage to approach Him and ask Him for help. “If you want to, you can cleanse me from this hideous disease” he said. Before answering, Jesus did something first. The Gospel says that He reached out His hand and touched the leper. Only after this did Jesus say, “I DO want to.” What is the significance of this action?
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