Weekly Missionary Reflection
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 14 February 2021
Lev. 13:1-2,44-46; Ps. 32:1-2,5,11; 1Cor. 10:31 – 11:1; Mark 1:40-45
What is the basic or principle of religious life: clean-unclean or compassion? Judaism in Jesus’ time emphasized the principle of clean-uncleanness. To believe in the Most Holy God also means striving for a holy life. In order to keep the holiness, everything that is unclean must either be shunned or abstain. The pure and impure things are listed and mapped. “Everything must be in its place!”, that is the logic. The boundaries and entrances of the “physical body” such as skin, mouth, gate, city wall, must be monitored; so do the boundaries of the “social body” such as: marriage and descendant. Leprosy is a sign of body boundary that is not well maintained. Fluid that should stay inside the body can leak out. This is defiling, not only the person himself but also his neighbors. Therefore, a leper must be shunned and isolated. He is not allowed to participate in worship or social life (Deut. 28:27). He is a marginalized person, both in social and religious life. Religions that follow a clean-unclean system tend to marginalize those who are labeled “unclean”. Anyway, sanctity must be preserved, uncleanness and unclean people should be avoided. All of this is believed to be the Law of God!
A religion based on clean-unclean system is absolutely inhuman and unjust. The victim must start to fight and speak up. Do not ever stay silent and tolerate injustice! That is what the leper does. Coming to Jesus, he breaks the boundary and speaks up. He breaks the Law which allows him to speak only to remind people of his leprosy (Lev. 13: 45-46). Jesus instantly responds to this initiative of the social and religious oppression victim. He stretches out His hands and touches the unclean man. By this way, Jesus also breaks the Law (Lev. 5: 3; Num. 5: 2). But Jesus doesn’t care. Laws that humiliate humans is certainly not for the glory of God! For Jesus, religion must be based on compassion. With that, today Jesus shows the maternal face of God, the LORD who cares and protects His people. In a religion based on compassion, holiness no longer needs to be protected by various clean-unclean rules, but must be shared through various touches and acts of love.
Jesus’ touch should have made Him unclean. But it turns the other way around. His touch becomes a means for sharing holiness, not impurity. The leper is healed and clean. His place in society is restored: from a marginalized person to a recognized person. He is also religiously accepted again as a full member of God’s people. Jesus presents the embracing God not the God who marginalizes humans, the loving God not the God with favoritism!
Jesus sternly warns the man not to tell anyone about the miracle he has just had. Why? Because God’s kingdom is often reduced to mere physical welfare. Jesus wants us to focus not on the healing, but on accepting God’s sovereignty in ourselves and our world. The impact will definitely be real: we are religious without proscribing others. Compassion will reform the boundaries and walls created by human. The holiness of God must be expanded, not to be protected in our own personal piety and in our own group.
(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:
For Evangelization intention:
Women of violence victims: We pray for the women of violence victims, so they can get protection and their suffer can be truly felt and get the attention from the community. We pray …
For Indonesian Churches intention:
Family affection: May the Catholic families will be more courageous in learning to live the spirituality of living at home which requires family members to understand each other’s weaknesses and strengthen each other in facing every problem. We pray …
Special Intention for the year of St. Joseph:
Please strengthen our heart in giving service to others, like St. Joseph, as long as you allow us to take part in raising the Son in the holy family of Nazareth. We pray…