Sat, 10 February 2018
(Lv.13:1-2,44-46; Ps.32:1-2,5,7,11; 1Cor.10:31-11:1; Mk.1:40-45)
“I said, ‘I confess my faults to the Lord,’
and you took away the guilt of my sin.”
The leper in our gospel confesses his faults to the Lord when he says, “If you wish, you can make me clean,” for by these words he recognizes that “he is in fact unclean” – that he is a sick man in need of a physician. And Jesus takes away the guilt of his sin when He responds, “I do will it. Be made clean.” For by a mere word from His mouth we are purged.
That the sinner should cry out his guilt is evident even in the ancient Book of Leviticus; it gives specific instructions for the actions of the leper, whose sin has made him unclean: “The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent and his head bare, and shall muffle his beard; he shall cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’ As long as the sore is on him he shall declare himself unclean.” Here is a graphic representation of the way we sinners should present ourselves to the Lord. Like the leper who cries to Jesus on his knees, we should never hide our sin from the Lord; our “guilt [should be] covered not.” For the Lord indeed sees all things – nothing is hidden from Him – so we fool only ourselves if we attempt to hide; and He can’t heal us of our affliction if we do not come into His light. We must come before Him in all humility for the poison upon our souls, and He will save us from our sin.
How sincere is the leper’s contrition to move the Lord to such immediate pity! How pitiable indeed he is, as to a final hope for cleansing waters he comes with head bowed to the earth, his years of suffering evident in his shaking voice. Whimpering like a dog he humbles himself before the Lord… and a tear we find in Jesus’ eye – inevitably He reflects our penitence in His grace. Let your heart break before Him! Bleed before the Lord who bleeds for you! Expose your sores to His eyes and His light shall cure them all.
Finally, brothers and sisters, let us indeed “be imitators” of Paul, “not seeking [our] own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved,” that people will keep “coming to [Jesus] from everywhere” to find the healing of their “sore of leprosy,” to discover salvation from their sins. For He does “will it” for everyone – the redemption of all He holds in His arms of sacrifice. Let all souls show themselves to His priests; let all confess their sins openly, that reconciliation with God and one another all may know. O Lord, take away the sin from my soul! (Thank you for the sacrament you leave with us.)
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "Be Well" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, take away the guilt of our sin
and return us to your fold
that we might declare your glory to all.
YHWH, let us not dwell apart from you but forgive us our sins and let us return to your presence. Your Son leaves your side for a time to save us from our exile; may His sacrifice bring healing to all this day.
We are all unclean in your sight, O LORD; before you we come on our knees begging to be relieved of our guilt. Heal the sore upon our souls, which would spell our death – stretch out your hand and make us clean.
How merciful is your Son, LORD. How perfectly He reflects your compassion for the sinner. He is moved with pity at our contrition; He shares our tears as His own. O let all souls press upon Him for salvation!
And let us all reflect His love in all we do, giving glory to you in all things. Let our tongues follow the confession of our faults with praise of your goodness… Let us become as Jesus, LORD, laying down our lives that all might be saved and return to you.