Working for the Word
Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases: leper came to Jesus, touched him, remained outside in deserted places, people kept coming to him
To the point: By touching the leper, Jesus takes on the leper's ritual uncleanness. Consequently, he must remain an outcast, living in “deserted places.” But this does not stop the people from “coming to him from everywhere.” In Jesus they recognize someone who freely and fearlessly touches everything that is human. They cannot stay away from someone who draws this close to them. Can we?
Connecting the Gospel …
… to the First Reading: The law described in the first reading functioned to protect the community from an uncontrollable, infectious disease: the leprous individual was to “dwell apart.” In the gospel Jesus, having “touched” the leper to heal him, made himself unclean according to Jewish law, and so he had to “[remain] outside in deserted places.”
… to experience: “Outcasts” are not just those of long ago who have broken a legal taboo. Today there are those we have cast out: they may be members of the other political party, another religion, a foreign culture, even members of our own families, etc.
**From Saint Louis University