Gospel Reflection 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

Many of us know what it was like for the leper who pleaded on his knees to Jesus. ‘If you want to’ he said ‘you can cure me.’
We wonder why, if it is so easy for Jesus to heal us, he doesn’t. Well, perhaps we are missing the point. We can sometimes forget how much Jesus is reaching out to heal us. We live in a world of tremendous grace, yet we forget to see life as a miracle, even though we are part of that miracle.
Each physical healing came with a spiritual healing, too. This is the most important kind of healing, the one that can bring us into communion with God. Yes, as we plead on our knees for healing from illness and tribulation of myriad kinds, we should remember that it is a spiritual healing that Christ is most interested in giving. What’s the point of healing us from leprosy if we go on forgetting to love Christ through others, or of taking away our cancer if we continue to block the Gospel message from arriving in our heart? We shall still not have come to him.
All life contains hardship, pain and sorrow. Pleading for deliverance from it is natural, but we cannot escape it. We need only look at Jesus’s example, living and dying as he did in the midst of suffering and hardship. He, too, asked for deliverance, but he said something else. He asked for the cup to be taken from him only if that was the will of his Father. In other words, he accepted that pain and suffering have a place on the road to paradise.
We may look at Jesus’s physical healings as signposts to hope, signposts to our own journey to God. We represent that leper. We place our life in Christ’s hands. We do not know what this will mean. There may be more pain around the next corner, but we have come to him, our greatest hope, and there we place our trust.
In the gospel, there are the wonderful words: ‘… the leprosy left him at once…’ We can be assured that Christ wants to help us, that he hears us. The door will be opened to all who knock. And, whilst we cannot preempt what kind of healing we shall receive, we can rest assured that Christ is most of all interested in our spiritual healing. He himself proves that suffering is a legitimate aspect of the spiritual journey. So, as we pray to Christ for our own healing, we thank him for the many graces that he gives us, and we ask for the strength to live for him through all that comes our way, sure in the knowledge that he is remaking us in his image, remodelling us into children of God. And we give ourselves to him, certain that healing is occurring, even if it is not perhaps the kind of healing we are expecting. Amen.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (1:40-45).
Glory to you, O Lord.
A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees: ‘If you want to’ he said ‘you can cure me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!‘ he said. ‘Be cured! And the leprosy left him at once and he was cured. Jesus immediately sent him away and sternly ordered him, ‘Mind you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your healing prescribed by Moses as evidence of your recovery.‘ The man went away, but then started talking about it freely and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived. Even so, people from all around would come to him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.