Sixth Sunday of the Year

Lev 13:1-2 & 44-46; 1 Cor 10:3 –11:1; Mk 1:40-45 (Year B)

“It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate.” The words spoken by the Creator underline what is at the heart of our humanity. However self-sufficient we consider ourselves to be, we cannot achieve the fullness of our humanity in isolation. This is only achievable when we are at peace with God, with each other and the whole of his creation.

Sin is rooted in the rebellion of the will against God, and its consequences disrupt the harmony that safeguards our humanity. The destruction of our relationship with God ultimately destroys every other relationship. The breakdown of family life and the selfish exploitation of peoples and the earth’s resources soon follow with disastrous consequences. Many would argue, with justification, that this is the situation facing our world today.

The Book of Leviticus sets down the Mosaic legislation regulating the quarantine of those afflicted with leprosy in an ancient society. Harsh though it seems, the total isolation of the sufferer was the only means of stemming the spread of this dread disease.

Throughout the Scriptures leprosy becomes something more than a medical condition; it becomes an image of sinful humanity, isolated as a consequence of sin, yet longing for the healing that will restore lost relationships. As we approach Lent, we should consider the ways in which sin undermines our relationships with God and each other. There is a sense in which sin renders us all what Leviticus describes as “unclean”, and condemns us to increasing isolation.

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