This Sunday our reading confront us with two image of the disease of leprosy. As we see in the first reading from Leviticus, this was a disease which had not only physical consequences, but also social consequences. While, the command that God gave to Moses and Aaron may seem harsh by modern standards, it contained a certain logic within it. There was an understandable fear of contagiousness and physical separation was the only known way to prevent the disease from spreading to the broader community. Given the situation that we are currently experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we can better appreciate the community’s response to the leper. There has always existed the difficult balancing act between the good of the individual and the good of the community., and finding the balance is rarely straightforward. Whenever we hear of leporsy in the Bible, the physical disease is meant to also evoke the image of sin within our minds. Sin not only wounds and scars the soul of the sinner; it also creates a rift within the broader community. Every social problem has its origins in wounded hearts of individuals. To heal the wounds of a society, one must always begin with healing the individual –of their physical wounds and also of the spiritual wounds that create damage in the soul and ripples outward. Within this context Christ heals not only the disease of leprosy, he also helps to reintegrate the cured man back into the community. Elsewhere we see Christ’s physical healings as manifestations of his healing of sin.
Last week we heard Cardinal Gregory speak to us about the Annual Appeal for the Archdiocese of Washington. The Annual Appeal supports the various outreach ministries within the Archdiocese. It is one of the ways that we as individuals support the mission which Christ handed on to us to care for those poor and sick of the world. It also supports various educational apostolate such as the seminary education of our future priests. These seminarians, we pray, will one day give you and me absolution for our sins and the sacrament of the sick as we lie on our deathbeds preparing to see God face to face. We were each created to be saints –people passionately in love with God and with the world –and we know that God can use that sanctity to transform the whole of his creation.
With prayers and best wishes,
(Our Lady of the Presentation Parish)