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Archive for the ‘Gospel of Mark’ Category

Mk 5:21-43 -THE OFFICIAL’S DAUGHTER AND THE WOMAN WITH HEMORRHAGE
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In both Mark and Luke, Jesus has just calmed the storm on the sea and cured a demoniac at Gadara. Now we come to a double miracle which occur almost simultaneously in which Jesus deals with both death and disease. The message from Mark 5 and Luke 8 is that Jesus has power over the natural world and the supernatural world and now we see He has power over disease and death.

The Gospels report Jesus raising three people to life–this girl, the son of the widow of Nain, and Lazarus. In each case the identity of the person is clearly given.

This account shows us, once again, the role faith plays in Jesus’ saving actions.

In the case of the woman with the hemorrhage we should note that Jesus is won over by her sincerity and faith: she does not let obstacles get in her way. For your information, this is the real status of the woman. According to Mark, the doctors couldn’t help her. He says, “She suffered much at the hands of many doctors, had spent all her money and was not helped at all.” Luke doesn’t mention that she suffered at the hands of many doctors, nor that she had spent all her money on medical bills. He just mentions that she could not be healed. Why do you think Luke left that part out? Because Luke was a doctor.

Because of her condition, this woman, who have suffered hemorrhage for twelve years, was continuously unclean according to Lev 15:25-31 and her touch would have made anyone she touched unclean. Haggai 2:10-14 makes the point that if something clean touches something unclean, then the thing that was clean is defiled. She could not go to the temple to worship. She could not touch anyone or they would be unclean for the rest of the day. If she sat in a chair, it was unclean for the rest of the day, etc. So she was basically cut off from normal fellowship with others and with God

Such was her seemingly helpless situation that she came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment; for she said to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I shall be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her He said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. (Mt. 9:21-23).

Similarly, Jairus, the “ruler” (of the synagogue) referred to in today’s gospel narrative as can be known from the parallel passages in Mark (5:21-43) and Luke (8:40-56), does not care what people will say; a prominent person in his city, he humbles himself before Jesus for all to see. “While He (Jesus) was speaking to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before Him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” Kneeling is the eastern way of showing respect to God or to important people. Reverence is a legitimate and appropriate external sign of internal faith and adoration.

And Jesus rose and followed him, with His disciples” (Mt 9:18f). While they are on their way home, a sick woman comes up and touches Jesus’ garment. Her faith expressed in touching healed her. Jairus is with Jesus and when Jesus stops to help the woman some men from Jairus’ house report that Jairus’ daughter is dead. When they get to the house, He tells them “depart, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping” and they laugh at Him. Was she dead? Yes. The text says, “Her spirit returned.”

Jesus says the same thing about Lazarus: “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him” (John 11:11). Although Jesus speaks of sleep, there is no question of the girl–or Lazarus, later–not being dead. For our Lord there is only one true death–that of eternal punishment (cf. Matthew 10:28).  Sleep is a euphemism for “temporal” death. Paul even uses this term for believers (1 Co 15, 1Co 11).

Three interpretations we can possibly develop on today’s account:

First, from the healing of the woman we see that it is faith in Christ, not magical touches that heal. The power is in a person, not a fabric or formula. In Jesus’ time there was a superstition that that power was in the robe of a great man, priest, rabbi, etc. Her belief was that touching the fabric would make her well. In fact, when she did touch His garment, she was healed. Jesus was aware of the fact that a miracle had taken place.

Was she healed by touching his garment? Was it the garment that healed her? No, Mark 5:30 says Jesus felt the power flow from Him. Jesus declares to the woman that it was not the touch but her faith which healed her. Mark wants to distinguish between the fabric and her faith in Him. Here we can see that God can use inadequate faith, respond to it and clarify it later.  God was gracious enough to respond to her faith even though it was not mature. I think one of the reasons Jesus stopped was to tell the woman that it was her faith that healed her so that she wouldn’t continue in her superstition.

Second, the raising of Jairus’ daughter affirms the deity of Christ and proves that he is the Messiah, the resurrection and the life.  Matt 11:5 quotes Isa 35. It is Jesus who guarantees our resurrection from the dead. Because He lives, we too shall live (Paul tells us). It is him that turns death into sleep from which we can awake.

Third, intercessory prayer is powerful. Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men especially sinners (cf. Rom 8:34; 1 Jn 2:1; Tim 2:5-8). In today’s Gospel story we seem to have a miracle occurring almost independently of the woman being raised from dead. She was raised from the dead because of the faith of his Jairus – his father.

It was Jairus’ prayer in faith that healed and saved her daughter from hemorrhage. Have faith, then, to Jesus so that your heart learns to pray in faith. Faith is a filial adherence to God beyond what we feel and understand. It is possible because the beloved Son gives us access to the Father. He can ask us to “seek” and to “knock,” since he himself is the door and the way (cf. Mt 7:7-11, 13-14, see cf. CCC 2609).  “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will” (Mk 11:24). Such is the power of prayer and of the faith that does not doubt: “all things are possible to him who believes” (Mk 9:23; cf. Mt21:22;  see cf. CCC 2610).

I exhort you, then, to have faith in God who “wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:3-4), that is, Jesus the way, the truth and the life” (see Jn 16:1; 14:6). “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn world, but that the world might be saved through him” (Jn 3: 17) and “that we might have life to the full” (Jn 10:10).  Apart from Him you can do nothing (Jn 15:5), hence, pray always and never lost heart (Lk 18:1), “never cease praying, render constant thanks; such is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thes 5:17f);

Mk 14:12-16, 22-26 – The Lord’s Supper
Solemnity of Body and Blood of Christ
Sunday Gospel Reflection

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Corpus Christi. “Corpus Christi” are two Latin words for “Body of Christ.” This great feast is in honor of the Real Presence of the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharistic species of bread and wine.

St. Bonaventure reminds us of its meritorious effect when we celebrate and explicitly confess our belief on the Eucharist: “There is no difficulty about Christ’s presence in the Eucharist as in a sign, but that He is truly present in the Eucharist as He is in heaven, this is most difficult. Therefore to believe this is especially meritorious.”[ 7. In. IV Sent. Dist. X. P. I Art. Un. Qu. I, Oper. Omn. Tom. IV Ad Claras Acquas 1889, p. 217]

As we celebrate this Solemnity of the Corpus Christi we are reminded of the following:

First, the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligations. This is the first of the precepts of the Church in which every Catholic ought to fulfill to the least to be considered practicing Christian. The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation”) requires the faithful to participate in the Eucharistic celebration when the Christian community gathers on the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord” (Cf. CIC, cann. 1246-1248; CCEO, can. 881 par.1, par. 2, and 4).

In the Philippines the holy days of obligations are: Christmas Day (December 25), Motherhood of Mary (January 1), and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (December 8).

Essentially connected to this obligation is our active, full and conscious participation in the celebration of Eucharist. When we are absent-minded or our focus is disintegrated our participation is questionable. When we do not know what we say and what we do during the mass our participation is not conscious. When we do not participate in all the responses and community singing during Mass our participation is not active and full. When we go to the Church for reasons other than to take part in the celebration of the Mass then our motivation and participation are questionable.

Second, to receive the sacred body and blood of Jesus Christ every time we attend Mass or at least once a year especially during Easter. This is also one of the precepts of the Church. “The Mass is a sacred banquet of communion with the Lord’s body and blood. And it is because of this that even the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion. To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us” (see cf. CCC 1382).

During the consecration where the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, he invites and urges us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you ( see Jn 6:53). “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him (Jn 6:57).

In the Eucharist “is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself our Pasch and the living bread which gives life to men through his flesh – that flesh which is given life and gives life through the Holy Spirit. Thus men are invited and led to offer themselves, their works and all creation with Christ …” (Presbyterorum ordinis, n. 5). For the bread of life to sustain life, it must be sought, approached, taken, broken, and eaten. Likewise Jesus must be invited into our lives if we are to enjoy the well being he brings.

Third, to receive worthily the sacred body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. St. Paul St. Paul urge us to examine our conscience before coming to confession to avoid the sin of sacrilege: ”Whoever, therefore, eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the body and blood of the Lord. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (1 Cor 11:27-29).

To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion when conscious of grave sin (cf. CCC 1385) by observing the fast required in the Church (cf. CIC, can. 919) and by bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) that convey the respect, solemnity and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.

Before so great a sacrament, let us echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion:” Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed” (cf. Mt 8:8). And pray, that through Christ, the Mediator, we may be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other so that finally God may be all in all” (see cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 48).

Mk 9:2-10 –  The Transfiguration of Jesus
Second Sunday of Lent
Sunday Gospel Reflection

In today’s gospel’s account, Jesus who took Peter, James and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves “was transfigured before their eyes, and His clothes became dazzlingly white – whiter than the work of any bleacher could make them” (Mk 9:2-3). At the Transfiguration, Jesus’ face was no longer emptied (see Phil 2:7) of His divine glory. His face was clearly recognizable as the face of God.

From the day Peter confessed that is Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Master “began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things…and be killed, and on the third day be raised (Mt 16:21). Peter scorns this prediction, nor do the others understand it any better than he (Cf. Mt 16:22-23; Mt 17:23; Lk 9:45). In this context the mysterious episode of Jesus’ transfiguration takes place on a high mountain (Cf. Mt 17:1-8 and parallels; 2 Pt 1:16-18), before three witnesses chosen by himself: Peter, James and John. Jesus face and clothes become dazzling with light, and Moses and Elijah appear, speaking “of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem” (Lk 9:31). A cloud covers him and a voice from heaven says: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him” (Lk 9:35) (CCC 554)!

For a moment Jesus discloses his divine glory, confirming Peter’s confession. He also reveals that he will have to go by the way of the cross at Jerusalem in order to “enter into his glory” (Lk 24:26). Why?  Because this is His Father’s will and as a Beloved Son in order to please the Father he is to serve and obey Him (see cf. Is 42:1). On this event, “the whole Trinity appeared: the Father in the voice; the Son in the man; the Spirit in the shining cloud” St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 45, 4, ad 2).

What are the meanings and significance of the Lord’s Transfiguration that we read this gospel two times a year: on the 2nd Sunday of Lent and on August 6th?

First, Jesus revealed his splendor and glory as the beloved Son of God to his disciples to strengthen them for the scandal of the Cross. “The Gospels report that at two solemn moments, the Baptism and the TRANSFIGURATION OF Christ, the voice OF the Father designates JESUS his ‘beloved Son’.[Cf. Mt 3:17 ; cf. Mt 17:5 .] JESUS calls himself the ‘only Son OF God’, and by this title affirms his eternal pre-existence.[Jn 3:16 ; cf. Jn 10:36 .] He asks for faith in ‘the name OF the only Son OF God’.[Jn 3:18 .] In the centurion’s exclamation before the crucified Christ, ‘Truly this man was the Son of  God’, [Mk 15:39 .] that Christian confession is already heard. Only in the Paschal mystery can the believer give the title ‘Son of God’ its full meaning” (CCC 444).

Jesus went to the mountain knowing full well what awaited him in Jerusalem – his betrayal, rejection and crucifixion. This will definitely scandalize his apostles. Hence, the need to reveal to his disciples his divine splendor and glory to strengthen them when that moment of crucifixion and death comes.

Second, “The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ’s glorious coming, when he will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil 3:21). “His glory shone from a body like our own, to show that the Church , which is the body of Christ would one day  share his glory  (see Preface of the Transfiguration). But it also recalls that “it is through many persecutions that we must enter the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

Third, “The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: ‘Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.’ ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. ‘[Mt 11:29 ; Jn 14:6 .] On the mountain of the transfiguration, the Father commands: ‘Listen to him!’ [Mk 9:7 ; cf. Dt 6:4-5 .] Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm OF the new law: ‘Love one another as I have loved you. ‘[Jn 15:12 .] This love implies an effective offering OF oneself, after his example. [Cf. Mk 8:34 .] (CCC 459)”

Jesus possesses the glory, a manifestation of divinity, because He is God, equal to the Father. Hence he is entitled to all our reverence, worship, praise, petition, obedience of faith and love. He, like the father, has to be glorified too.

Friends, for you and your salvation “you have been purchased by Jesus, and at a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 6:20). How?

  • by your offering your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God as your spiritual worship (see Rm 12:1);
  • by your good works and practice of virtues. “People, in seeing your good works [and virtues], give glory to God our Father who is in heaven (see Mt 5:16);
  • by your life of total dedication and consecration to God. “Use all that is in you, as if it were his own, for the service and glory of the Father” (St. John Eudes, Tract. De admirabili corder Jesu 1, 5). “Whatever you do, either you eat or drink, do it for the glory of God.”

“The glory of God is a man fully human, fully alive!” (St. Ireneus).

Picture: http://www.flickr.com

Mk 1:12-15 – The Temptation of Jesus
Sunday Gospel Reflection

The longing and  desire for heaven  or the single indestructible longing for God, for an eternity spent in intimate, blessed communion with him is the deepest desire of human heart. Heaven is “the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness” (CCC 1024). This is always what we pray for, what we strive for, what we hope for. But there were and will always be temptations, trials and tests on the way that will prevent us, hinder us and steal away from us the heaven that we long for.

The Gospel for today tells of Jesus’ retreat and temptation in the desert and the beginning of his preaching of God’s good news. Today’s Gospel simply tells of Satan tempting Jesus. But Jesus passed the test and overcame the test and temptation.

What is temptation? A temptation is anything than inclines a person to commit sin. It is enticement to evil, seduction to sin and death. Though it is not a sin it is more than trial or test because it lead us to sin. Once we enter into, give in to and submit to, temptation we are already committing sin which will bring us alienation, corruption, death and ultimately hell where Satan reigns and where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth because of it unquenchable fire.

What distinguishes temptation from trial? Trials or tests are necessary for growth while temptations incline us to sin. “No one who is tempted is free to say, “I am being tempted by God.” Surely God, who is beyond the grasp of evil, tempts no one” (Jas 1:13). God tests the heart puts his own in trial (1Th 2, 4) while only Satan tempts them (Lk 22,37; Ap 2, 10; 12,9). Trial is indispensable condition for growth (cf. Lk 8, 13ff), for sturdiness (1 P 1, 6f), for the manifestation of the truth (1 Co 11, 9: the reason for Christian divisions) and humility (1 Co 10, 12). When we overcome trials, temptations we are proven to be steady and strong (subok na matatag at subok na matibay. Thus freed, tried and tested Christian knows how to discern, verify and “try” everything (R 12, 2; E 5, 10). Trial is therefore the condition of the Church which is still to be tested, although she is already pure; stll to be reformed, although she is already glorious.

St. Paul assures us that “God will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test he will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it” ( 1 Cor 10:13; cf. CCC 2848). In fact St. Paul wrote that we should even boast of our tests/afflictions, knowing that afflictions produce endurance, and endurance, proven virtue (cf. Rom 5:3-5; CCC 2897).

Sources of temptations:

  • Some temptations arise from within ourselves. “The tug and lure of his own passion has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin reaches maturity it begets death” (cf. Jas 1:14).
    • Our passions and emotions incline us to long for attractive gratifications even through doing acts we know are evil.
    • Pride incline us to sin.
    • Imperfection of our very nature are sources of sin more particularly concupiscence and bad habits or vices.
  • We also experience temptations from the world. Persons, places and things can be occasion of sins to us. Even things good in themselves can be incitements in us to seek the attractive goods in unreasonable ways.
  • Faith also recognizes Satan, once an angel, but now hostile to God and to us, as one source of temptation. In his hatred for God, he seeks to drive us toward sinful and self-destructive choices (CCC 394-395).

Consequence of being tempted: slavery to sin, alienation and separation, death and ultimately hell where Satan dwells and where Satan reigns and where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth because of it unquenchable fire.

How do we handle with temptations?

  • Avoid temptations and keep yourself busy. Idleness is the workshop of the devil.
  • Resistance, faith and vigilance. Stay sober and alert because your enemy the Devil is like a prowling lion, waiting for someone to devour. Resist him and solid in your faith.
  • Prayer. In communion with their master, the disciples’ prayer is a battle; “only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation” ( cf. Lk 22:40, 46). “Pray that he will not let you be tested beyond your strength” (cf. 1 Cor 10:13). Pray that the Father “lead us not into temptations and allow us to be overcome by it (cf. CCC 2846). Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy…Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned.
  • Repentance and conversion. Always return to the Lord with fasting, weeping and mourning. For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness and relenting in punishment.
  • Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Always seek in everything the will of God. Nothing more, nothing less and nothing else.

Temptations are not themselves sins and no one entirely escape temptation. Hence, be vigilant and pray that God our Father may “lead us not into temptation” or allow us to be overcome by it and “seek it with all our hearts His sufficient grace to overcome temptation and to remain faithful to God (cf. CCC 2848).

Picture: http://www.padrebergamaschi.com/Pets/images/Temptation.jpg

Mark 2:1-12 – The Healing of the Paralytic
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday Gospel Reflection

Today’s gospel narrates to us  the cure of the paralytic who was brought on a mat by his four friends to Jesus. Since it was physically imposible for them to approach Jesus they went to the roof, made a hole in it where they could bring the paralytic down through the rope to where the Lord was teaching. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “My son, your sins are forgiven” (v. 5). This scandalized the Pharisees for it is only God who can forgive sins ((v. 8). In order to show them that He is indeed God and a Messiah who has the power  to forgive and to heal, he said to the paralytic :  “Stand up, pick up your mat and go home” (see v. 11).

What is something unusual about this incident is that most miracle stories in the gospel occur because of the faith of the one who is helped. Such was the case of the Canaanite woman, for example, or the blind Bartimaeus. In today’s Gospel story we seem to have a miracle occurring almost independently of the man being cured. His sins are forgiven and he is cured, not  because of his faith but because of the faith of his friends and their mediation. Let this story be a constant reminder for all of us of the validity and the power of the prayer of intercession.

Along with prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, contrition, there is also another prayer that exists and is effective, That prayer is the prayer of intercession. Prayer of intercession belongs to the prayer of petition. What ‘s the slight difference between the two? Wnen we are praying for ourselves that is prayer of petition. When we are prayer for others or requesting others to pray for us that is prayer of petition.

The Church teaches in her Catechism (CCC 2634) that “Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men especially sinners (cf. Rom 8:34; 1 Jn 2:1; Tim 2:5-8). He is “able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25). The Holy Spirit “himself intercedes for us…and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” Rom 8:26-27).

In intercession, he who prays looks “not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” even to the point of praying for those who do him harm (Phil 2:4; cf. Acts 7:60; Lk 23:28, 34). The intercession of Christians recognized no boundaries: “for all men; for king and all who are in high positions,”  for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the gospel (1 Tim 2:1; cf. Rom 12:14; 10:1).

Indeed the prayer of intercession is valid, effective and praiseworthy.  Like Jesus, let us never fail to pray for others especially those who are in need of our prayers.  When we feel  unworthy or inadequate to pray let us request others to pray for us especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mediatrix of all graces, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother too.

Pray for peace and unity of the world, healing and reconciliation among nations, groups and individuals whose relationship is characterized by divisions and conflicts. Pray also for the conversion of sinners and for the sanctification and salvation of the whole humanity.

In particular, I exhort you to pray for the Church specially for the priests: “We are used to asking the priests to pray for us. In these trying times for them and for the Church as a whole, I am asking you to pray for them” (Lingayen-Dagupan  Archbishop Oscar Cruz).

Related Gospel Reflection:

by Fr. Jerry Orbos

    Mk 1:40-45 – The Cleansing of the Leper
    Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

    Leprosy, is a disease caused by the mycobacterium leprae bacteria, this kind of bacterium affects the body’s nervous system, concentrating on the cooler parts of the body. Affected areas are skin, eyes, and muscles in the hands and feet. There are two different initial reactions to the disease: Some people develop clearly defined pale skin patches, indicating the bacterium is isolated in one area. In more extreme cases where the patient has no resistance to the disease, there is very little definition between the patches and healthy skin. With this type of case, it is much more difficult to detect the disease in its very early stages. As the disease progresses, the symptoms only get worse. Numbness in hands and feet make the patient vulnerable to cuts and infections that cannot be felt. Stiffened muscles cause clawed hands. Loss of the blinking reflex leads to total blindness. In some cases amputation of fingers, an arm, or a leg is necessary.

    Ever since Biblical times, people have been fearful of leprosy. Most people think of leprosy as an ancient disease. but the harsh reality is that hundreds of thousands of people contract this devastating disease each year and millions more suffer from its terrible consequences. Some statistics presented by the World Health Organization make us reflect: At the beginning of 2005 the declared cases of leprosy in Africa were 47,596, in America 36,877, in Southeast Asia 186,182, in the Eastern Mediterranean 5,398, and in the West Pacific 10,010. Fortunately, according to the WHO, certain statistics exist that refer to a regression of this disease, at least according to the declared data: From 763,262 people suffering from leprosy in 2001 the figure fell to 407,791 in 2004.

    It has been said, that every two minutes, someone is told he or she has leprosy. Many think leprosy is a disease of past generations but in many regions, especially in areas of chronic poverty, leprosy continues to attack children, women, and men. People are being shamed, abandoned, rejected, and despised simply because their families and communities do not understand the disease. Many believe leprosy is a curse or punishment from the gods.

    It is hard for us today to imagine the awful condition of the leper in New Testament times. He was considered legally dead. But, worse, he was considered morally unclean. Forbidden to enter any walled city-lashed thirty-nine times if he did-he wandered, muffled to the eyes, crying ‘Unclean!’

    Under Jewish law, no one could greet him. Under the law, no one could approach within six feet of the leper-one hundred feet if the wind came from his direction. Any building he entered was considered defiled and had to be purified. The common practice was to throw stones at or run and hide from any leper who approached.

    Such was the man who came to Jesus. What compassion and greatness he must have sensed in the Master to break the law in this manner. And what was the response? Against all law and tradition, Jesus reached out and touched the leper and by His touch cleansed him of his filthiness. By His touch, to save His brother, Jesus descended lower than any man-exactly as He did, later, to save each of us.

    We are that leper, each of us unclean in his own way, inside, many of us feel dirty, ugly, leprous, each of us crying, ‘If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. The Gospel message is clear: Jesus is approachable no matter what our condition. Jesus will never reject us no matter who we are, what we’ve done, or how we look (Jn 6:37). This explains why the leper of today’s Gospel does the opposite of what is expected  by the society and demanded by the law; he approaches Jesus. Jesus also does the unthinkable by stretching out His hand and touching the leper (Mk 1:41) and consequently, healed him.

    Never hesitate to approach Jesus, healer of mind, body and soul, in prayer for healing, deliverance, consolation, and perseverance.  Likewise never deprive anyone of God’s loving kindness even those who are considered by law and our society as the untouchable, unlovable, undesirable,  and unbearable.

    Picture: http://www.about.com

    Useful Article:

    What do you usually give as a reason or justification when you failed to pray, when you are unable to pray? Chances are, the reason you give are: “I am busy,” ‘I have to time to pray,” “I have a lot of commitments,” “I am preoccupied with many things.” Sometimes we have the arrogance to justify ourselves by saying, “My work, service, apostolate, or ministry is my prayer.”  And the worst of all, we have the guts to say, “I am self-sufficient, what for?”

    If there is any person who has the absolute right to say “I’m busy” it is no other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The gospel reports some incidents when the Lord could not even eat, drink and rest because he has to minister to the needs of the hungry, sick, handicapped, demoniacs, sinners, restless and the overburdened. If there is any person who has all the right to say “I am self-sufficient,” it is no other than Lord. As John the Evangelist writes, He possesses the fullness of grace and truth. Paul writes too that in Jesus the fullness of Divinity dwells.

    But look, throughout the gospel, Jesus has been portrayed as a “man of prayer.” His life is characterized as a “life spent in solitude, prayer, friendship, and intimacy with God the Father” despite the demands and pressures of life.

    As Ezra Taft Benzon beautifully puts it:

    “[Jesus] communed constantly with his Father through prayer. This he did not only to learn the will of his Father but also to obtain the strength to do his Father’s will. He fasted and prayed forty days and forty nights at the beginning of his ministry. (“Matt. 4:2Matthew 4:2; “Mark 1:13Mark 1:13; “Luke 4:2Luke 4:2.) He prayed all night just before choosing his twelve apostles. (“Luke 6:12″Luke 6:13Luke 6:12-13.) He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. (“Matt. 26:39Matthew 26:39.) It would seem that during his earthly ministry he never made a major decision or met a crisis without praying.” (Come unto Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 44.)

    Being followers of Jesus who is the Way, Truth and Life, let us always find a place and time where we could could spent our life in intimate conversation, intimacy and friendship with God. When we are afflicted with sickness and disability, let us never doubt the presence and the power of Jesus to help and save us. When we are confronted with dilemmas, crises, trials and difficulties let us never hesitate to approach Jesus in prayer for healing, reconciliation, deliverance, enlightenment, strength, consolation and perseverance.

    Picture: http://www.funny-games.biz/images/pictures/748-pray-every-night.jpg

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