Gospel Reflections

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mark 1:40-45

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Margaret Foley

Published: July 08, 2018

The Church is a community that listens to and proclaims the Word of God.  This year, 2018, the focus is on Mark's Gospel.  He wrote the first gospel for Jews who were becoming Christians.

We are in the opening weeks of "Ordinary Time" in the liturgical year ...weeks which resonate for us in Mark's gospel with the story of the beginning of Christ's Church, its rapid growth, purpose and energy.

This calls to mind the powerful words of the Preface in the recent Mass of Whit Sunday that have come alive:                  

"Today you sent the Holy Spirit on those marked out to be your children by sharing the life of your only Son."  "Today we celebrate the great beginning of your Church when the Holy Spirit made known to all peoples the one true God......."

John the Baptist withdraws and Jesus emerges as a central, intriguing figure.  On everyone's lips is the question, forever seeking an answer, “Who is this man?”

Yesterday and today we still ask this question of ourselves.  We begin a lifetime search for a fresh awareness that brings into sharper focus our understanding of who Jesus is for us.

As the story unfolds we see a man of power       

-  the power of gentleness  

-  the power of authority  

-  the power of compassion  

-  the power of healing  

-  the power of invitation   (Come and See)

He began by gathering the first disciples around him. They moved among the growing crowds as a group of people on a mission. So the Church of Christ began as a living organism and must continue as such.

Today's gospel dwells on the healing of the leper who fell on his knees before Jesus -  "If you want you can make me clean." The warmth and humanity of Jesus' response touches us deeply as we hear him exclaim, "Of course I want to."  We marvel as he touches a feared outcast.  We can feel for this newly healed man, free at last to socialize normally, bursting to talk with people again and tell of this wonderful experience!

Thinking of ourselves today and the world we live in, it is not difficult to recognize the scenario of the leper, the outcasts of society. Daily we are confronted with desperate families clinging with ever fading hope to death traps of boats in an effort to find a society that will welcome them as sisters and brothers.

Our streets are filled with drug addicts and homeless young people, some of whom have fled families that destroy rather than nurture. Nations build walls to separate rather than protect.

What can we do as individuals to respond to the "lepers" of today as Jesus did?  For this week ahead we might pray and reflect on today's gospel. Put aside time in our lives for the prayer of silent communing with God who dwells in the depths of our being -  the prayer of listening. And if we come across an "outcast" as we go about our ordinary daily life, choose to respond with the warmth and humanity of a true disciple of Jesus.



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