Leprosy in ancient times contains the idea of being struck or afflicted with an eruptive skin disease. It was an ailment characterized by the appearance of rough, scaly patches of the skin. The concern of the ancient peoples was not so much the contagion of the “biblical” leprosy as the impurity or uncleanness that it brought. Lepers would not “infect” the community; they would “pollute” it, rendering the people unfit to approach God. After all, the “holiness” required of the people encompassed not just moral uprightness, but, to a large degree, bodily wholeness and integrity. Jesus heals the leper and renders him clean again to rejoin the community.
In the face of the corona virus pandemic, many afflicted persons were often segregated from the community for fear of contamination. Instead of social distancing, many doctors and nurses of the frontlines chose to attend to the sick—bound by the sense of duty or moved by the same compassion, in the way Jesus treated the leper.
Gospel • MARK 1:40-45
A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.