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Thursday, 11 February 2021 00:01

Celebrating At Home - 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Continuing the journey with Jesus

Following last week’s Gospel, Jesus has set out to preach and heal in the other towns of Galilee when a leper comes to him and pleads for healing.

In Biblical times people with any kind of shiny, scaly skin condition were usually considered to have leprosy. This is not Hansen’s Disease - the proper name for leprosy as we know it today.

Anyone suspected of being leprous had to live outside their town for fear of spreading the disease to others. They had to leave their home and family, their job, their community and their synagogue. They were dependent on others to bring them food and water.

This sense of fear and suspicion about lepers is a stark contrast to the welcome given by Jesus to the man in the Gospel.

He comes to Jesus and asks him to make him clean, to cure him. Jesus is deeply moved and touches the man (which must have required great compassion) and cures him. In healing the man, Jesus has done much more for him than simply relieving him of a distressing ailment. Jesus has literally given the man his life back. Now he can go home to his family, take up his job again and renew his religious practice in the synagogue.

In Jesus’ day many people took illness, disease and disability as a sign that people were also morally ill, that they had sinned, done something wrong. By healing the sick, Jesus removes the taint of evil from them as well.

Interestingly, there is a kind of ‘role-reversal’ in this Gospel. In the beginning it is the leper who is the outcast, the one who must live outside the town. Because the cured man tells the story everywhere, Jesus now becomes the one who has to stay outside the towns and villages. Never the less, the people, like the leper, still come to him for healing.

Aware of our need for healing, we, too, can take the initiative by approaching Jesus. We will be met with welcome, compassion and love. We can be restored to our rightful place as beloved sons and daughters. We, too, can tell the story of what God has done for us.

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Celebrating at Home is a Liturgy of the Word centred around the Gospel reading for each Sunday. It includes a reflection on the Gospel and prayers.

It can be used personally or with your family. Parts for all to pray are given in bold print and all the other parts can be shared among those present.

We hope that Celebrating at Home will be a source of nourishment and strength for all who use it.

In the room you decide to use for this prayer you could have a lighted candle, a crucifix and the Bible. These symbols help keep us mindful of the sacredness of our time of prayer and can help us feel connected with our local worshipping communities.

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