Welcome faithful children of the Lord Jesus to the House of God where by the grace of the Heavenly Father and the power of the Holy Spirit, one finds the strength to dwell in the Presence of the Lord Jesus in the fullness of righteousness.
Today's readings from the Holy Scriptures echoed the progressive
history of what was required in the days of Moses in the Presence
of the Heavenly Father versus what is required today to live in the
Presence of the Lord Jesus. As you will hear during my homily,
while some things have dramatically changed, our loving God making
it easier for us to approach Him and to dwell in His Divine
Presence, not all things have changed.
During today's First Reading from the Book of Leviticus, [Lev.
13:1-2, 45-46] we heard of society's treatment towards those who
suffered temporary skin disorders. Being called unclean because of
their afflictions, they were isolated from the community. And
also, they were expected to behave in a certain way.
It is important to point out that in this particular reading and
throughout Chapter 13:1-44 of the Book of Leviticus, reference is
not made to leprosy but to temporary disorders that are curable.
This is based on the fact that the Hebrew word "sara'at" is used
versus the Latin Vulgate Bible word that states "lepra" which means
"leprosy." (The Jerome Biblical
Commentary, Page 75, #28C)
Although primitive hygiene considered such diseases as highly
contagious, therefore requiring isolation from the community, it
was the religious and social ostracism that dictated that those who
were stricken by these skin disorders lacked the necessary bodily
integrity to worship Yahweh.
To ensure that those who worshipped Yahweh were clean, when someone
was suspected of having a skin disorder, he was sent before the
priest who would examine the person to determine the status of his
condition. The priest did not do this as a physician but as a
judge who interprets the Law of Moses.
The signs to be observed were the spreading of the disease, [Lev.
13:7, 22, 27, 35] sores that penetrated the skin and discoloured
the surrounding hair [Lev. 13:3, 20, 25, 30] and open sores [Lev.
13:10, 15, 42] If the priest was unsure of the condition of the
person, the individual was quarantine, sometimes for a week. [Lev.
Once it was determined that a person was unclean, that person was
expected to move outside the community, wear torn clothes, leave
their hair disarranged, cover their lip and cry out, "Unclean,
unclean!" This would last as long as the person was inflicted with
the skin disease.
Spiritually speaking, this reading is symbolic of how the Holy
Sacraments are administered by the Church. Things have not
changed! If one is not in a state of grace, not having repented of
his sins, nor received the Sacrament of Reconciliation, he is not
permitted to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. For one
to enjoy communion with the Presence of the Lord today, he is
expected to be clean, in a state of grace.
Today, the Holy Catholic Church does not mistreat those who choose
to live in sin by isolating them from the Body of Christ. While
the Church condemns their actions, it loves and prays for the
sinners as Jesus loved them and died for their salvation. This is
in the hope that the sinners will be healed by the grace of God as
those of the days of Moses were healed from their temporary skin
Today's Second Reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians [1
Cor. 10:23-11:1] is summarized by saying that charity is the first
spiritual Law by which Christians must live. Charity must govern
the behaviours of each and every Christian.
While all things are lawful, not all things are beneficial. It may
be lawful to indulge in alcohol in one's home, but such behaviour
surely does not lead to spiritual growth. It may be lawful to get
married before a Justice of the Peace versus receiving the
Sacrament of Marriage within the Holy Catholic Church, but such
action does not have the blessing of God or the Church. It may be
lawful to have a divorce or an abortion, but such actions oppose
the holiness of God and His intended Divine Plan for His children.
The Christian behaviour ordains that those who shine in the light
of Christ be servants of others, not offending anyone by their
actions. They must not seek their own advantage, but that of the
others. For example, one may be comfortable going to Church while
being improperly dressed in the Presence of the Lord. But,
because such a behaviour may disturb the conscience of others,
Christian behaviour ordains that it not be done. The Christian
behaviour ordains that because the conscience of the person who is
acting this way may not be disturbed, it is no reason for saying,
"It is nobody's business how I dress!" One must love and respect
his neighbours in who resides the indwelling Presence of the Holy
The Christian who embraces a spirit mind, he is always concerned
with the well-being of his brothers and sisters in Christ and the
building up of the Holy Catholic Church. The Christian who has a
spiritual heart, he is always ready to sacrifice himself in the
interest of the others and the Church.
Why does the true Christian act this way? It is because he does
everything for the glory of God so that he may dwell in the Divine
Presence of the Lord Jesus. The true Christian is ready to
sacrifice his ways in service to the others so that they may be
Contrary to this, one can decide to have his own way and behave in
an unacceptable way that scandalizes others. Resulting from such
behaviours, those who are scandalized may leave the Body of Christ
because their consciences are bothered. In such cases, the persons
who have committed the scandalous acts will be made accountable to
God for their behaviours that have led to the lost of souls.
Today's Reading from the Gospel of Mark [Mk. 1:40-45] echoed three
messages related to dwelling in the Presence of the Lord.
First of all, the miraculous healing of the leper echoes the Divine
power and mercy of the Lord Jesus that includes everyone, even the
lepers who were excluded from society under the Mosaic Law. Jesus
came to save the lost sheep, not those who were already saved. He
opens His arms to all, drawing them to His Sacred Heart that
radiates with infinite healing love.
Secondly, we heard Jesus telling the cured leper not to say
anything to anyone. Now, why would Jesus say something like that?
It is because in those days, many believed in the coming of a
worldly Kingdom, a secular messianism. Just like what happens
today, when some hear of apparitions and miracles, thousands flood
the alleged site in the hope of seeing the manifestation of the
power of God. They hope and pray for something drastic to happen,
for God to suddenly descend from Heaven and to bring peace in the
world. Such shall not happen! The messages of Jesus and Mary, at
Lourdes, at Fatima and at all the holy places have always been to
pray and live one's Christian faith in righteousness in the hope of
inheriting the Kingdom of God through the Blood of Christ.
The third message that is found in the Gospel is that once one is
cleansed by Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism, he is expected
to "freely proclaim" the Gospel and "spread the Word." This is
exactly what the cured leper did! He was excited. He had found
the truth, the way and the life in Jesus. He went forward and
shared it with others for the glory of God the Father.
At the same time, it should be noted that the actions of the leper,
contrary to Jesus' command to say nothing to anyone, made it
difficult for Jesus to openly speak in the towns because the people
would have tried to make Him their leader, their King. As such,
Jesus had to distance Himself in the country in order to continue
As St. Paul said in the Second Reading, all things are lawful but
not all things are beneficial. It was spiritually right what the
leper did but it was not beneficial. It was not according to the
Divine Plan of God.
There is a lesson to be learned here for all of us. In our
spiritual work for the glory of God, we must be of one mind. We
must work together, not against each other. There is no need to
compete for glory in the work of the Lord for all glory goes to the
Lord Himself. If one seeks glory in his Christian work, then he is
not of the Spirit of Christ!
To fully dwell in the Presence of the Lord, we must be one in mind.
We must respects our neighbours. We must be committed
wholeheartedly to sacrificing ourselves so that we will not offend
our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must enjoy a spirit of
ecumenism in the hope of drawing to the Lord Jesus those who have
fallen from grace and those who have separated themselves from the
Holy Catholic Church. My brothers and sisters, that is today's
message from God to you! May His Words enrich your spiritual
growth in Christ!