Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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Homily 286 – Be Made Clean – 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 15th, 2015, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

The disease of leprosy, is the sad context for our readings this weekend. This terrible disease was not only a painful physical milady, but also had serious social implications. We see in the readings how lepers had to stay away from the community and yell “unclean” if anyone came near. By highlighting the issue of leprosy, the Church on this last Sunday before Lent gives us a meditation on the very real effects of sin. Sin, like leprosy, makes our souls and often our bodies unwell. Likewise, because there is no private sin, it also has a communal effect, isolating us from God and our brothers and sisters.

Like the leper, we are called to acknowledge our sin and then come humbly and kneel before Jesus the divine physician. Jesus makes the leper clean. Through the Sacrament of Penance Jesus wishes to make us clean of our sin. This is not some figurative healing; in the Sacrament of Penance we are truly made clean. Notice in the gospel that Jesus does not invite the leper back into the community right away. If Jesus had simply chosen to ignore the disease then the leper would still be a leper and soon the entire society would be sick. Rather, Jesus first cleanses the leper and then invites him back. This Lent, let’s have the humility and courage of the leper to get right with God and neighbor. We too are meant to hear the words of Jesus, “Be made clean.”

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