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The cleansing of a leper

Gospel reading: 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 him, 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.

The leper whom Jesus has cleansed is so happy that he cannot be faulted for announcing this good news to others. But Jesus is not one who seeks fame and adulation. His ministry is intended for all those who need healing and liberation, and yet, paradoxically, Jesus asks people to keep on themselves what he has done for them.

To encourage the announcement of the healing is to invite many more to come to him and experience God’s healing power. Is Jesus perhaps afraid that people will mistake him for the political Messiah they have been waiting for, or is he concerned it will be logistically difficult for him if everybody comes to him for healing? Whatever the reason, Jesus is not after fame but the liberation of people from anything that enslaves them.

Do we sometimes fall into the trap of popularity of soliciting adulation from others?

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