June 26, 2020 – 12th Week of Ordinary Time

“May the touch of the Lord take away any ‘leprous’ tendencies in our mind and life and free us from any bondage in order to live a firm and committed Christian Life!”

(Based on 2 Kings 25:1-12 and Mt 8:1-4 – Friday of the 12th Week of Ordinary Time)

An integral system of education consists of proper blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application.

Theory refers to learning ideas and concepts, principles and philosophies regarding a particular subject through books, media, encyclopaedias, academic institutions, classes, lectures and other sources.

Practical refers to the ability of using that information and applying it in a real-life context.

• Theoretical knowledge shows the whole forest – builds the context and helps to set strategy.
• Practical knowledge shows a single tree – puts forth the situation and challenges to act.

In recent times, many of the subjects and the curriculum in institutions, insist and demand on both the theoretical knowledge and the practical dimension of knowledge.

The Gospel of the Day is the narrative of the ‘first in the series’ of practical applications of the theoretical knowledge that Jesus has expounded through the Sermon on the Mount.

The incident of the cleansing of the Leper in Mt 8: 1-4 is placed immediately after the Great Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1- 7:29)
• The Sermon on the Mount was the theoretical knowledge that Jesus expounded
• The cleansing of the leper was the theoretical application of some of those principles

At the start of the Sermon on the Mount, we read “When Jesus saw the CROWDS, He went up to the mountain…..” (Mt 5:1)

At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, we read, “When Jesus came down from the mountain, great CROWDS followed Him” (Mt 8:1)

• Many people in the crowd have listened and marvelled at the teachings of Jesus.

• Many of them now follow Him…

Perhaps to see how He would apply those lofty teachings in real life
Perhaps to see whether all those high ideas were really liveable in actual life

And what is the scene that they encounter?

A leper who approaches Jesus!

“A leper!!”… Ooops!!

“Stay away, all” would have been the united chorus of that multitude of crowd!

Leprosy was one of the most feared and dreaded disease of the ancient world.

The Hebrew word for leprosy (Tsara’ath) comes from a root word which means “to scourge or to strike.”

Leprosy was very often, considered a curse.

It was incurable and highly deadly – blatantly evident on the body and an ugly sight!

Leprosy was almost a ‘living death’, with many sweeping implications.

A person would be declared a leper after tests were performed (Lev. 13).
Once declared a leper by the priest, the leper had to be cut-off from contact with society.

• He had to display marks of mourning, as if for the dead (thus, to touch him would defile oneself)
• When someone drew near, he had to call out, “Unclean! Unclean!”
• He had to remain outside the camp with no access to the temple or perform any worship.

Leprosy was, indeed, a living death!

The crowd who saw this leper approach and worship Jesus would have had mixed feelings – shock… anger… unpleasantness…

They would have been also very curious what would Jesus do…
“He preached so much… let’s see what He does now”
“Is He really going to touch and get defiled by that dirty leper?”

But the Lord was not just well-versed in theoretical knowledge; He was also the perfect executioner of applied knowledge!

Theoretically He had said…
“Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees and the Scribes, you shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20)

Practically…
He now goes beyond the ceremonial stipulations of the Law and ‘touches’ and heals the leper (Mt 8:3)

Theoretically He had said…
“… take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them” (Mt 6:1)

Practically…
He tells the leper not to make a publicized show of his cure; instead to ‘show himself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded’ (Mt 8:4)

Theoretically He had said…
“Judge not, that, you may not be judged” (Mt 7:1)

Practically…
He doesn’t condemn or despise or mock the leper who comes close to him and instead expresses his whole-hearted willingness to shower mercy on him by saying, “I am willing; be clean” (Mt 8:3)

Theoretically He had said…
“Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the Will of the Father in heaven” (7:21)

Practically…
He puts into effect His teachings, ‘walking the talk’ and fulfilling the Will of the Father to be a Healer and Saviour to people.

The Lord was not just an eloquent and effective preacher but also a committed and convinced practiser of what He spoke.
• His deeds matched His wonderful words!
• His words produced dazzling deeds!

This then is the invitation to us too:

To have an integral Christian Life by being a Preacher of the Word (in whichever little or insignificant way possible) and a Practiser of the Word (through a witnessing and charitable life)

May the touch of the Lord take away any ‘leprous’ tendencies in our mind and life and free us from any bondage in order to live a firm and committed Christian Life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Comets appear to be larger than stars and more
fanfare is generally made of them.

Yet, they are not comparable to stars either in size or in quality and only seem more spectacular because they are closer.

So, too, most people generally esteem the virtues which are, so to speak, closer, more tangible and more material!”

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