The Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday Cycle B for the 6th Week of Ordinary Time is Mark 1:40-45.

After His baptism and the calling of the early disciples, Christ begins to preach and heal people throughout Galilee; He has cast out demons, healed Simon Peter’s mother of a fever, and healed multitudes of the sick. Christ continues His work of healing by responding to a desperate man afflicted with leprosy.

Leprosy is a devastating illness (though curable today) that ravages the bodies of lepers. Worse, since leprosy made a man “unclean” by Jewish law (Lev 13-14) and was contagious, lepers were outcasts who were forced to live outside of cities, shut out from the covenant life of Israel. Despite his stigma, a man with leprosy boldly breaks through the crowd, kneels before Christ, professing in faith that Christ can heal him. Jesus touches the man, and simply and powerfully says, “I will. Be cleaned.” It is a stupendous, unprecedented miracle; the leper is healed. In a prefigurement of how the Sacrament of Reconciliation draws the sinner back into full community with the Body of Christ, Christ invites the healed man back into full communion, telling him to follow the prescribed Jewish laws of cleansing overseen by a priest (Lev 14).

While Christ explicitly told the miraculously healed man to tell no one except the priest, perhaps to avoid overwhelming crowds and to delay confrontation with religious leaders until His “hour” has come, the man can’t contain his gratefulness and spreads the news about Christ.

Awed by Jesus Christ – As the Son of God, Christ is Divine Mercy incarnate and is the Perfection of Virtue. Son of Man, Christ’s human nature feels deep pity for the suffering of men. The Divine Physician, Christ has the omniscience and omnipotence to supernaturally heal any sickness. Divine Priest, Christ prefigures the Sacrament of Confession and emphasizes the need for priests.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men often fail to be awed by Christ’s miracles because they fail to think deeply. Look at images of leprosy on the internet and realize that Christ healed the leper instantaneously. Be awed by Christ’s supernatural power.

2)  Jesus Christ is the perfection of manly virtue (from the Latin, vir, meaning man), fearlessly touching a leper despite Jewish prohibitions and contagion. Review the Catechism’s teaching about Virtue (CCC 1803-1845) and pray for Christ to help you grow in a virtue with which you currently struggle.

3) Christ’s touching and healing of the leper is a preview of the Church’s Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick seeks Christ’s intercession to heal the sick and prepare the dying for death. Review the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick (CCC 1499-1532) and pray for Christ to help you bring the Graces of this sacrament to the sick.