“I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.”
Book of Leviticus 13:1-2; 44-46
Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 10:31-11:1
Gospel According to Mark 1:40-45
by Sister Jane Hibbard, SNJM
This is the sixth Sunday in “ordinary time.” This coming week we welcome and celebrate Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Certainly the time we are living through feels far from ordinary and more like ongoing Lent.
Two of the readings in this Sunday’s liturgy refer to leprosy. That would be COVID in our current lives. We have “remained apart” for most of this year, trying to wait patiently for our scientists to develop and produce vaccine. Now we are waiting patiently for everyone to get vaccinated and see where that takes us toward resuming some sort of normal life. We can very much relate to these scriptures. Hopefully, we have used this hidden time to go deeper with Jesus and become more spiritually at home with ourselves.
I have always wondered why Jesus said to the leper: “See that you tell no one anything.” Can you imagine being cured of a horrible illness and not wanting to shout for joy from the housetops that you are healed? Surely Jesus knew he was asking the impossible, or at least the improbable. It is the feeling I think we will have when we finally have vaccine shots in our arms and we can give and receive hugs once again.
In the reading from Corinthians, Paul gives us a very direct and clear mission: DO EVERYTHING FOR THE GLORY OF GOD! “Please everyone in every way. Be imitators of Christ!” We wake up every morning with the same mission. If we can do that……everything for the glory of God, without judging ourselves or others, we are imitating Christ and we can be confident that we are doing God’s will. And we will have JOY even in the midst of COVID.
As we begin another season of our Church year, we can count on the grace of God to be with us and help us journey to Easter. Maybe we will even have vaccinations!
From the Rule of St. Benedict
"Let us prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may Christ bring us all together to everlasting life." Rule of Benedict 72:11-12
"A great prophet has arisen in our midst, God has visited his people." Luke 7:16