6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 14, 2021
During this time of the pandemic, in celebrating the Sacrament of Anointing, the masked priest does not touch the person he is anointing. The laying of hands is done “at a distance” and the anointing is done with a cotton swab. The sense of touch is lost but the sacrament is still efficacious, the Lord’s healing is still celebrated.
We see here in this reading from Leviticus a fear of those infected with sickness of the skin. “Leprosy” covered a wide variety of skin diseases that were considered contagious. It was often concluded that a sickness was the result of personal sin and so the “threat” was removed from society by keeping the person in isolation. It was a denial of one’s dignity but also a rejection of those excluding others. This was the situation Jesus lived in.
Jesus touches the person and heals him. We do not know whether he became a disciple of Jesus now or possibly later after the paschal mystery is complete. One thing that is clear in Mark’s gospel is that Jesus is not just about miracles!
This requirement to go the “priests” who represent the community is significant. They are welcomed back, hopefully not under suspicion but totally. The lesson for us is to see ourselves as part of that welcoming community. During this time, there may be an opportunity for us to welcome back someone whom we may deem “unclean”. We make mistakes, others make mistakes but the lesson is that none of us are mistakes!!