By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit. “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ LEVITICUS 13:1-2, 44-46 FIRST READING
(“He shall cry out, `Unclean, unclean!'”)
- Who is Aaron, and what did the Lord say to Moses and Aaron? Exodus 4:14-15, Leviticus 13:1-2
- In an attack of leprosy, what were the Israelites to observe? Deuteronomy 24:8
- What shall the priest declare him, and for what reason? Leviticus 13:44
- Why do we touch nothing unclean? Isaiah 52:11
- From what are we to be separated, and from what do we cleanse ourselves? 2 Corinthians 6:15-17, 2 Corinthians 7:1
- How does the one who bears the sore of leprosy keep his garments, what shall he do with his head and beard, and what shall he cry out? Leviticus 13:45
- What defiles a person or makes a person unclean? Matthew 15:11, 18-19
- As long as a sore is on someone, what shall he declare him-self, and where shall he dwell? Leviticus 13:46
- To what has God called us? 1 Thessalonians 4:7
- Who will be cut off from the people? Acts 3:22-23
Personal – What can you see within yourself that comes forth from your mouth and declares you unclean? How is it contagious to others around you, and in what way does it separate you from God and others? Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week.
THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 10:31-11:1 SECOND READING
(“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”)
- “Whether you eat or drink–whatever you do,” why do you do it? 1 Corinthians 10:31
- What are we to do in word and deed? Colossians 3:17
- What are we to do so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ? 1 Peter 4:11
- What are we to avoid doing, and to whom? 1 Corinthians 10:32
- Over whom are we to keep watch, who has appointed us over-seers, and how was the Church of God acquired? Acts 20:28
- What is it to a man to overlook an offense? Proverbs 19:11
- Whom is Paul trying to please, what does he not seek, and for what reason? 1 Corinthians 10:33
- What are we who are strong to do, whom are we to build up, and who did not please himself? Romans 15:1-3
- What are we to do with one another, in keeping with whom, so as to do what with one voice? Romans 15:5-6
- Whom are we to imitate, and for what reason? 1 Corinthians 11:1
- Whose footsteps should we follow? 1 Peter 2:21
Personal – Who are the people whom you try to imitate in your life? What are the reasons you want to imitate them? What reasons do you see in yourself that others would want to imitate?
FOURTH DAY READ MARK 1:40-45 GOSPEL
(“If you wish, you can make me clean.”)
- How did the leper come to Jesus, and what did he say? Mark 1:40
- How did the rich man come to Jesus? Mark 10:17
- What has God bestowed on Jesus, and at the name of Jesus, what should be done? Philippians 2:9-10
- Whose will do we pray to be done on earth, as it is in heaven? Matthew 6:9-10
- With what was Jesus moved, and what did he do and say? Mark 1:41
- What happened immediately to the man with leprosy? Mark 1:42
- Of what was Jesus aware that went out of him when he healed the woman, and who touched whom? Mark 5:29-30
- After Jesus healed the leper, how did he warn him, and what did he do at once? Mark 1:43
- What did Jesus tell the man not to do, and what did he tell him to do? Mark 1:44 Read Leviticus 14:1-32 to see what the law prescribed for one afflicted with leprosy.
- What did the man do when he went away that made it impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly? Mark 1:45
- Where did Jesus remain, and from where did the people come? Mark 1:45
- For what reason did Jesus withdraw to deserted places? Luke 5:15-16
- Why did the large crowds follow Jesus? John 6:2
Personal – In what way do you go to Jesus, and how do you request healing?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 32:1-2, 5, 11
(“Happy is he whose fault is taken away.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 11.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
We are told in today’s reading that those who had leprosy were separated from their families and friends and confined outside the camp. Leprosy was one of the most feared diseases of biblical times, and it was thought to have come from Egypt. This horribly contagious disease slowly ruined the body, and in most cases there was no cure.
It was the responsibility of the priests to take care of the health and sanitation of the camp. This meant it was the priest who would expel the person with leprosy and he would be the only one who could readmit the “cleansed” person. A person with leprosy had to cry out “unclean” to signal to others not to come near. Because leprosy was so contagious, it was important for people to stay away from those with the disease (which consisted of sores on the body that festered and grew until they completely destroyed the tissue).
The Old Testament often used leprosy as an example of sin because sin also is contagious and destructive and leads to separation. Sin is a sore on our soul that festers and grows until it completely destroys the soul. We can get immediate help for the soul through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Sin is contagious, and if let go unchecked, it will spread destruction and death wherever it goes.
The people in today’s reading were terrified of being confronted with someone who had leprosy. They did not know that it was a disease that had nothing to do with sin. In their fear they ignored the person who was desperately looking for help. Then when they finally decided to do something, they would remove them from their families, friends and community.
Today’s reading is a powerful reminder to all of us. How do we as believers respond to our brothers and sisters who are in sin? Do we ignore them, and then when it gets too bad, do we remove them from the church, our families and the community?
Medicine has brought relief and a cure for most types of leprosy. This was done by constant observation, testing and research. Sin is cured by confessing that Jesus is Lord and asking for his forgiveness. A complete restoration has been made by Jesus Christ for all who choose to believe in Him. We have the choice to have the ugly contagious sins removed from within us. Today is the day to be healed. Today is the day to be cured. Today is the day of salvation, and the time is now (2 Cor. 6:2).
1 CORINTHIANS 10:31-11:1
The pressures of today make it easy to ignore or forget the lessons of the past. The key to remembering is the daily study of Scripture which constantly advises us how to permeate our lives with God’s love. We need to always ask, “Is this glorifying God?” or “How can I glorify God through this?”
In a culture filled with moral decay, we need to be very alert to the wrong desires and temptations that happen to everyone. Temptations can be resisted because God will help us to resist them. We are to run from anything that we know is wrong. Running from temptation is the first step to victory (2 Tim. 2:22). We cannot give glory to God as we eat at both the Lord’s table and at Satan’s table. Eating at the Lord’s table means communing with Christ, or being in union with Him, and identifying with His death. Eating at Satan’s table means identifying with Satan by participating in actions that promote evil activities.
Are you trying to lead two lives by following the desires of both Christ and the crowd? Scripture tells us that we cannot do both and be glorifying God. Paul tells his listeners to follow his example as he imitated Christ. There are many people today who do not know the Bible, and probably the only bible they will ever read will be us! So, like Paul, it will be very important that our example will show others how to be imitators of Jesus Christ.
Today’s Gospel shows us the healing power of Jesus Christ. When Jewish leaders declared a leper unclean, it meant they were unfit to participate in any kind of religious or social events. The Mosaic Law stated that any contact with unclean persons made the leaders unclean also. Some people were so terrified of the lepers that they would throw rocks at them if they came anywhere near them. Jesus not only heals the leper, but also touches him in the process. Jesus knew that the real value of a person is on the inside, not on the outside. A person may be horribly deformed by an accident or a disease, but he or she is no less valuable to God. No person is too disgusting physically, emotionally or spiritually for Jesus to touch.
In reality, we are all lepers because we all have been deformed by the ugliness of sin. But the Lord Jesus Christ has touched us and invited us to be healed forever by accepting Him as our Lord and Savior. When you feel repulsed by someone, stop and remember how God feels about that person and about you. Jesus heals today just as He did in the Gospel, and He heals in union with the church. In today’s reading, when a leper was cured, he had to go to the priest to be examined. The healed leper would leave an offering of thanks at the temple. Jesus adhered to these laws by sending the man to the priest.
Jesus wants to send us into His community of believers too. He will heal us and then offer us a community in which to grow in faith. We have the church, the Sacraments, and the Scripture to help us grow in the image of God and become imitators of Christ. We are called to give sight to the blind, heal the sick, and free the captives (Luke 4:18). There are many people who suffer from leprosy of the skin and of the spirit. We are called through Christ to go forth and make disciples of them (Matthew 28:19).
This week’s first reading shows that sin is contagious and deadly. The second reading reveals that good example is the best way to glorify God. The Gospel tells us that no one is disgusting to touch and heal.
This week, let your example show others how to glorify God and how to heal in Jesus’ name. Visit someone in a rest home, hospital or jail, and let them know that they are of value and that they are loved by God. Maybe you can bring a family member or friend with you when you go. Remember, lepers were victims of loneliness, so pick out someone who is lonely and God will again heal the leper of today through you.