Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
(Hebrews 3:7-14; Mark 1:40-45)
Kent Brantley is the American missionary-doctor who contracted the Ebola virus while treating patients in Africa. He survived but had to spend almost three weeks in isolation to treat the disease. Much like Jesus in today’s gospel, Dr. Brantley became an untouchable in caring for untouchables.
The passage reflects dramatically the Christian message. Jesus, the Son of God, became human to humans from deadly sinfulness. In the process he delivers himself up to death. This trajectory is anticipated in the gospel reading. Jesus cures a leper by touching him. Whether or not he contracts the disease, he goes into isolation as commanded by the Mosaic Law. But this retreat does not stop people from flocking to him with their problems.
We need not hesitate to go to Jesus as well. He is here to help us. Countless testimonies have been given of how he has cured diseases. His teaching guides us to a just and honorable life. Most significantly, Jesus has won for us the Father’s favor. He has gained special privileges so that we have access to eternal life.