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Saturday, 14 February 2015

Reflection/Homily: Sixth (6th) Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (February 15 2015).

Reflection/Homily: Sixth (6th) Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (February 15 2015). 
 Theme: Only the Healing Hands of Jesus can Save us

Today, people do not know much about leprosy because the advancement in human medicine has been able to contain the disease. It is a chronic infectious disease caused by a mycobacterium known as Mycobacterium Leprae and it imposes serious damages on the skin of its carrier. The Ebola Virus Disease gives us a better picture of how dreaded leprosy was in the days of Jesus. A leper would be declared unclean by a priest and he is separated from the community to live in isolation. Only a priest could declare him clean and reintegrate him into the community after healing. The first reading (Lev. 13:1-2, 44-46) gives us a picture of how horrible their situation was.

In the Gospel reading (Mark 1:40-45), we are presented with a leper who is uncomfortable with his situation and desires a positive change. He knew he was unclean but he desired to be unclean and he mustered the courage to approach Jesus for mercy and healing. Jesus being very compassionate to those who approach him requesting for mercy and healing made his clean and whole again and he went home praising God. Like the leper, today, we are individually and collectively afflicted by several forms of diseases which have separated us from others. Some of us are suffering from diseases of the body such as terminal and chronic illnesses and diseases of the mind such as traumas, psychological disorders, emotional imbalances,  just to mention but a few. Several nations have their own diseases like terrorism, (especially the boko haram insurgence in Nigeria and the terror of the Islamic State in the West), electoral tension and violence, war, corruption, strange epidemics like the bird flu, ebola, etc. In the midst of these problems, who do we run to for healing?

The leper in the Gospel reading teaches us what to do and who to meet when we need help. He knew Jesus could heal him and that was why he broke the rule which forbade them from approaching the healthy when he ran to Jesus and requested for healing. At the end, he was healed. Jesus still invites all who are overburdened with diseases to come to him. He alone can guarantee us healing with his saving hands. But can we muster the courage to come out of our hideouts and approach him for healing? Today, we are challenged not just by physical diseases but by a more serious disease called sin which destroys the soul. Sin is the leprosy of the soul. It is the worst disease we can think of because it not only separates us from God, it also spoils our relationship with one another, darkens our souls, makes us candidates for hell, makes us unclean, keeps us troubled, robs us of our innocence and separates us from the community of the faithful. It has personal and social consequences. When it becomes national like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, it could destroy a whole nation and who knows if what we are suffering in Nigeria today is not as a result of our sins.

Beloved friends, there is need for us to learn from the leper in the gospel reading. We are all afflicted by sin for “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (cf. Rom. 2:23), so we should approach Jesus for healing since he alone can heal and save us. In the Church, God has provided for us a sure means to approach Jesus for healing. The sacrament of penance (confession) is a specialist clinic where Jesus through his priest will diagnose and heal us of the disease of sin. Why not be a frequent patient at this clinic if not for healing, at least for check-up. At the confessional we receive hope, spiritual direction, forgiveness, healing and the grace to overcome sin. Also to enable us overcome sin, St. Paul advises us in the second reading (1 Cor. 10:31-11:1) to do everything for the glory of God and to imitate him just as he imitates Christ “who was like us in all things except sin”. Therefore, let us go to Jesus whose healing hands alone can save us and our nation at this critical moment. Happy Sunday. God loves you.

 – Uwakwe Chibuike MFC

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