Sunday, February 14, 2021

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Be Made Clean

We are approaching Lent in a few days with Ash Wednesday. Today's readings lead us into this period of repentance and spiritual cleansing. It is a great way to put a "pause" to Ordinary Time until after Pentecost.

The first reading tells us of God giving Moses and Aaron instructions regarding those with leprosy. Leviticus is known from its many rule, laws, and ritual. Some of us today may find them strange, however, they served their purpose centuries ago. Leprosy here is not just a physical illness, but it is a symbol of sin. Like leprosy, sin infects the soul. It makes it smelly, unclean, and deformed, so to speak. This is why the leper is called "unclean." This reading will connect with the Gospel and its context will make more sense. God heals us, but we must first do what is necessary for this healing.
This means repenting and turning to God. The responsorial Psalm reminds us of this.

We turn to God the Lord in time of trouble and ask Him to fill us with the joy of salvation. Those who God takes away their faults are blessed indeed. God is there with them and is restoring them. We must be free of guilt and be mature. Acknowledging our sin before God is important. This is why we go to confession. We confess to the Lord our sins via the priest who acts in the person of Christ. It is not the priest forgiving the sin, but Jesus Himself. Forgiveness brings us closer to God. We must rejoice and exult in this because we are in sanctifying grace. However, it is not easy. We all will eventually sin. Human beings are frail creatures; not only physically and emotionally, but also spiritually. These are the effects of sin. They make us weak all around. This is why St. Paul reminds us in the second reading that we must be imitators of Christ.

In the second reading, St. Paul tells us to do everything for the glory of God, including when we eat and drink. So when we do anything, we must glorify God. By "everything," this means things that are moral. We cannot glorify God by committing sin. We must avoid giving offense to anyone. St. Paul specifies not offending the Jews, Greeks of the church of God. We must love and respect everyone. It is sad when I see some tweets from priests, deacons, religious and lay people endorsing and even justifying offending others. It is just disgusting and against God. We must try to please everyone in every way and not do so for our own benefit. Now this means to please everyone in a moral way of course. It does not mean to please everyone in sinful ways as the world is accustom to doing. We must imitate Christ.

Finally, in the Gospel, we read of how the leper came to Jesus begging Him to clean him. Jesus was moved with pity and made him clean. Jesus then warns the former leper not to tell anyone about the healing other than the priest and to offer what Moses had prescribed in the law. The man then went on to publicize what had happened to the point that people were looking for Jesus. Jesus could not enter the town openly because of the crowds seeking Him to obtain miracles for themselves as well. Again, leprosy is a symbol of sin. Sin is a disease of the mind, body, and soul. Like leprosy, it eats away at us, makes us weak and smelly before God, so to speak. It is not a pleasant sight when a soul is in sin, a particularly mortal sin. We must seek Christ and beg Him to cleanse us of our sins. He is the only one who can cleanse us. The rituals of Moses were a precursor to Jesus healing and cleansing us of the leprosy of sin.  The real pandemic is sin, not covid 19 coronavirus. As we approach Lent, let us do this. Let us seek Christ with sincerity and ask for forgiveness. Let us go to confession and receive the Eucharist daily if possible. Let us do good works, not offend others, and imitate Christ as St. Paul informed us in today's second reading. Today many nations celebrate love via St. Valentine's day. What better way to celebrate love than by restoring our relationship with God by going to confession! May Jesus Christ be praised!


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