Thursday of the 1st Week of the Year

Mk 1:40-45

The Cleansing of a Leper


Through this gospel passage, in the first place, Jesus desires that the priests and the religious authorities of His time recognize Him as the Messiah, the One sent by the Father. He says: “Go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed, that will be the proof for them.” But above all, He wants to heal us of all sicknesses especially the sickness of sin. He wants to purify us of the leprosy of the soul which we carry from generation to generation. The healing of the leprosy of the body carries out by Jesus is nothing other than a sign of the healing of the leprosy of the soul.


I once attended a wedding of a good friend who is born-again Christian. The rite was well prepared and well executed by the preacher, the couple and the musicians. Each part of the rite was explained meaningfully. The parents were asked to go up the stage; the sponsors were recognized. The whole beautiful ceremony lasted for around three hours.

I admired the pastor’s preparations and commitment to his work as presider. I envied the inspiring role that the musicians played in the different parts of the rite. I truly appreciated the opportunity of being with the born-again community.

The experience brought me to a deeper understanding of our worship and intensified my love for what we do in our liturgy. Our celebrations come from God. Our liturgy is the work of Jesus, which means, that until now Jesus “stretches out his hand and touches us.” The sacraments are rites where God invites and meets us. In confession, for example, Jesus, through the priest, makes us clean and heals us. In the Sacrament of Matrimony, Jesus blesses the couple so they could be reflection of God’s love for his people.

Would that all our liturgical presiders prepare themselves well to be effective channels of God’s works.

Until now Jesus touches us,  ready to forgive and heal us, make us grow and save us through his Church. (Fr. A Concuera, Jr. SVD Bible Diary 2002).


A hunger much greater than physical hunger afflicts the world today – spiritual hunger. This is much more difficult to satisfy that physical hunger. Thomas More was Lord Chancellor of England, something like our own Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was a daily Mass goer. He was asked why he spent so much time for Mass. His response was: “My job has many temptations. I need the strength to remain faithful to my sacred duty.” Jesus declares it is only He who can satisfy our spiritual hunger. The saving power of God’s Word can sate us only if we recognize our own hunger, our own limitations, shortcomings, pockets of sins and failures in our lives.

A worse state of hunger is being hungry and not feeling hungry. This is caused by spiritual inertia. People who feel they have nothing further to learn from God’s words are afflicted with spiritual inertia. This is spiritual barrenness – our inability to bear fruits of faith due to our blindness to see Christ breaking into our lives through people and events. It is being afflicted with spiritual leprosy without knowing it.

The gospel reading today brings out one of Jesus’ endearing traits; care for people. Jesus is compassionate and is sensitive to the needs of His apostles and to those of the people. But he cares for their real not imagined needs.

We could ask ourselves the following questions: What are the real needs of the people we serve? If the gospel is good news, how must the gospel be preached so that it really is good news? (Fr. Joel Maribao, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


In the gospel today we read the story about Jesus healing a leper, not only physical healing but spiritual, social and emotional as well. Lepers during the time of Jesus were considered sinners and public eyesores. Jesus restored the leper to good health, self-esteem, and human dignity. He was brought back to the fold of society.

Many times in our lives, we encounter people who, like lepers, are sad, lonely, rejected, abandoned and disliked by society. To them we are called to provide healing to their scarred selves, and to bring them back to their spiritual and emotional completeness. (Fr. Eugene, Ducoy, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


In the Bible leprosy stands often for sin. For sin, if not checked early enough, eats up our spiritual substance as unchecked leprosy destroys bit by bit the body of the patient. There is a danger that we don’t take sin seriously. We easily develop bad habits until we become addicted to them.

I feel always sad when I encounter people who have lost the courage to begin all over again. ‘it’s too late,” some say, “it’s useless.” Others ask, “Will the Lord still forgive me?” Or even worse, “No God cannot forgive me anymore.”

The Phantom of the Opera sings about a “point of no return.” But in our relationship with God there is no point of no return. Even when we may have become spiritually rotten and evil, there is always a point of return. The leper shows us the way: Turn to the Lord with the strong faith that he can and will heal us. And the miracle of cleansing and healing happens in our lives as it happened in the life of the leper. (Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


“Make me clean,” the leper asked Jesus and Jesus was willing. This is a parable in action. In a short gospel episode, human misery meets divine compassion. God comforts everyone who suffers. He lifts the spirit of the depressed; he brings love and hope to people who are broken in body and spirit.

We too, are asked to extend the compassion of Jesus by becoming conveyors of grace and not avoiders of human tragedy. Someone might even have his own “leper”: a person whom he avoids and does not want to see or talk to; could be someone close to him, perhaps even a member of his own family. The person I ostracize, isolate and insulate is my “leper.” Do you also have a “leper”? embrace your “leper” and God will reward you. (Fr. Louie Punzalan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


In the time of Jesus certain diseases were regarded as medical conditions according to the science of the time. It was also the case that they were often appreciated more for their social impact. Accordingly, diseases which disfigured or which provoked revulsion were considered exclusionary; people preferred that the victims not be seen, heard from, smelled or touched. Furthermore,  in the highly religious culture of the Jews, these victims were seen as people from whom God had somehow turned away, for some moral or religious infraction. In the collective mind, diseased persons were symbolically “unclean,” and hence deserving of the response of withdrawal.

Some of those blaming and condemnatory attitudes are still reflected in part of the Philippines despite the efforts to provide better and more scientific health education. Certain diseases are deemed more shameful than others, not only because of the natural repulsiveness of their symptoms, but also because they somehow imply moral failure of some kind (think STD, for example) and even divine retribution (as denoted by the Visayan gaba). Taken whichever way, diseases like these can be oppressive to the patient’s sense of dignity and autonomy. Only those who have been in and out of the hospital so many times become somehow inured to being reduced to a condition of dependence, suffering strangers to take care of their most personal needs….. (Fr. Diony Miranda, SVD Bible Diary 2012).


January 14, 2016 Thursday

I’ve tried imagining myself as a leper, suffering from disfigurement, being shunned, and living in the margins. How might I look if I had sores all over my body and smelt foul? It is honestly very hard to imagine myself this way, being currently blest with amazing health and good complexion. But I can imagine the desire to be made clean.

In Jesus’ time, a suspected leper had to go to a priest for examination. If found to be infected, the person should wear torn clothes, let his/her hair hang loose, cover his upper lip, and cry out “unclean, unclean!” He should also live alone. An outcast, he was considered utterly unclean – physically and spiritually.

In today’s reading, the “quarantined” leper, did not mind being sanctioned because he saw in Jesus the hope for his healing. His faith healed him. The key lesson to be learned from this incident is that sin may deflect us in the sight of God, but through Christ, we can be healed of the plague that separates us from Him. This powerful story can encourage us to present ourselves to the Lord for whatever restoration we need. Like the leper, there is a need for us to surrender ourselves to Christ: our hope, our redeemer. We might as well borrow the dialogue of the leper: “If you wish, you can make me clean. (Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD | DYRF, Cebu Bible Diary 2016)


TWO TEACHERS: We have two teachers today. The first teacher is Jesus. The second teacher is the leper.

What does Jesus teach today? Very simply, it is this:  Jesus says it is not enough to love from a distance. With Jesus, there is no such thing as long distance love relationship. He wanted to show His love for the leper and He did not say: “Leper, I love you,” one kilometer away. He went close to the leper, touched the leper and said: “Be healed.” For Jesus, there is no such thing as loving from a distance. In the same way that the Lord teaches us with His actions, He also shows His love for us by coming down from heaven, taking human flesh and living in our midst.

Who are the people we love? We say we love them, but are we willing to spend time with them? Are we willing to break that distance that set us apart? Are we willing to destroy that walls that separate us from those we love? It is not enough to love from a distance. We must love at close range and show it.

What does the leper teach us? The leper teaches that it is not right to keep quiet when we are suffering. The leper was suffering and by law, he must keep quiet. He must only talk when people approach. In order to warn people, he was supposed to shout out: “Unclean! Unclean!” so that people would not approach him. This leper was suffering not only from leprosy, but even more from isolation. He was a person in need and he did not just suffer quietly, like an oyster who closes in. he shouted out and said: “Lord, heal me! I am suffering!”

We all know what suffering is and we all know what secret suffering is. We all know what suffering is and we all know the pain of suffering in silence, not wanting to share it with people who are ready to carry out sufferings for us and with us.

Jesus teaches us today, it is not enough to love from a distance. The leper teaches us today that it is not necessary to suffer in silence. (Bp Soc Villegas, Love Like Jesus p.58)


Thursday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time (Year C) Marcos 1:40-45. Tinuod ba nga ang sakit usa ka silot gikan sa Dios? Sa panahon ni Jesus ang mga sanlahon giisip nga hugaw kaayo ug dakong makasasala. Ang ilang kahimtang gitan-aw nga silot gikan sa Dios. Gidid-an sila nga moduol sa mga tawo aron dili makatakod ug dili makahimong hugaw sa uban. Apan si Cristo wala mosunod ning maong mentalidad. Gani, gitugotan niya ang usa ka sanlahon nga moduol kaniya. Iya kining gihikam ug giayo sa iyang sakit – usa ka pagpakita nga ang sanlahon wala isalikway sa Dios. Nindot kini nga balita alang sa mga masakiton. Dili nila angay’ng isipon nga sila gipanghimaraot sa Ginoo. Kon duna man silay sala, mangayo sila’g pasaylo. Hunahunaon nila nga sila duol sa kasingkasing sa Ginoo ug gusto Niya nga sila mapasaylo ug mamaayo. (Fr. Abet Uy)


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

THURSDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – MARCOS 1:40-45. TINUOD BA NGA ANG SAKIT USA KA SILOT GIKAN SA DIOS? Sa panahon ni Hesus ang mga sanlahon giisip nga hugaw kaayo ug dakong makasasala. Ang ilang kahimtang gitan-aw nga silot gikan sa Dios. Gidid-an sila nga moduol sa mga tawo aron dili makatakod ug dili makahimong hugaw sa uban. Apan si Kristo wala mosunod ning maong mentalidad. Gani, gitugotan niya ang usa ka sanlahon nga moduol kaniya. Iya kining gihikam ug giayo sa iyang sakit – usa ka pagpakita nga ang sanlahon wala isalikway sa Dios. Nindot kini nga balita alang sa mga masakiton. Dili nila angay’ng isipon nga sila gipanghimaraot sa Ginoo. Kon duna man silay sala, mangayo sila’g pasaylo. Apan, hunahunaon nila nga sila duol sa kasingkasing sa Dios ug gusto niya nga sila mapasaylo ug mamaayo. Posted by Abet Uy


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reflection for January 14, Thursday of the First Week; Mark 1:40-45

Reflection: There was a man who had a kidney failure. To temporarily extend his life he would submit himself to a twice a week dialysis treatment. After two years of searching for a donor he finally found a poor relative who was very willing to donate one of his kidney.

To facilitate fast matching and compatibility the donor was invited to stay with the family of the sick man. He was treated well until it was found out during the battery of health test that he had AIDS.  Naturally he was not anymore fit to be a donor and fearing contagion all his things were isolated by his relatives including his utensils.

After the discovery that he had AIDS their treatment of him radically changed s well. He was not welcome anymore and he felt his relative’s isolation and ill-treatment. After a few days he was asked to leave them permanently. We cannot be infected with AIDS by merely staying with an infected person or by sharing the same utensils with someone who has AIDS.

In our gospel we have a man with leprosy (a contagious disease) who humbly went to Jesus He knelt and begged Jesus to cure him. Jesus had nothing in His heart but mercy and compassion for the man He touched him and was immediately made clean without any reservation.

By touching the man with leprosy Jesus broke the stereotyped ill-treatment of those who were sick with leprosy. By touching the man with leprosy Jesus’ shows us that Love, Mercy, Compassion are more powerful than any dreaded disease.

As we move forward with our lives we shall be meeting or will be acquainted with people with contagious disease. Or people who are sinful or who lived wayward and misguided lives. Let us not scorn them, let us not avoid them and let us not judge them for what they’ve done.

Let us rather show them that like Jesus our Love, Mercy and Compassion for them are more powerful than any dreaded and despicable disease. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


WANNA HAVE A BABY? – “I do will it. Be made clean!” – Mark 1:41

I met a couple who have been married for 11 years but still didn’t have a child. They asked me to pray over them. I did, and after a month, the wife got pregnant.

A friend confided in me that she and her husband of five years could not conceive. I prayed over them. They now have a healthy baby boy.

Another friend suffered an ectopic pregnancy. I prayed over her and her husband. They now have a baby girl.

My niece who lives in the United States has been married for four years and couldn’t get pregnant. I prayed over her and her husband via Skype. After one year, my niece gave birth to twins — a boy and a girl!

Last year, I also prayed over two couples, but as of this writing, they still don’t have a baby.

God uses us to reach out to those who need His blessings. But today’s readings tell us that there are times when God does not grant what we pray for, and there are times when He is willing to do what we ask of Him. Ours is not to ask Him why, but rather to believe He does what’s best for us. Cynthia U. Santiago (

Pope Francis Says: “Jesus is more than a friend. He is a teacher of truth and life who shows us the way that leads to happiness.”

Lord, cleanse me and let me desire what You desire for me!


IT IS GOD WHO HEALS – Jesus cures a leper who asked if He was willing to do it. It was a bold and desperate move by the leper. Jesus responded positively. How can He refuse such faith? It is interesting that He told the leper to be mum about it except to the priests in the temple.

Much of what Jesus required were Jewish customs. The instruction to keep quiet was more because He did not want to be known only as a miracle worker. There were others who also healed during those times. Even today, an act like that would immediately draw attention and following. People hunger for miracles. Jesus was afraid He would be lined up with other  miracle workers then. In the process, it would be more difficult to convince them that He is the Messiah. They will seek and follow Him because of the miracles and not the Good News.

Leprosy was an incurable disease then. It was sin-related. Lepers were not allowed to mix with the community. They were thrown outside the village and they all lived together. They were considered living dead. Thus, the desperate move by the leper on Jesus. The leper had nothing to lose. His faith and courage earned him his healing, both spiritually and physically. The visit to the priest and the offering of his healing were acts of gratitude to God and a message to the priests. Unfortunately, the priests denied the sign.

The healing continues today. Jesus’ healing power is present in every Christian in varying degrees. All who are sick today — spiritually and physically — may seek healing in Jesus’ name. Priests are designated healers in a special way because of the order of the priesthood. The sacrament of the anointing of the sick is an avenue of the healing power of God. Priests, nuns and lay healers emerge now and then. God uses them to effect total healing. But never forget that it is God who heals. Fr. Benny Tuazon

REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you in need of healing? Go to God’s instruments of healing and pray in faith that you will be healed.

Heal me, Lord, and make me whole so I can serve You more. Amen. (2016.01.14)


Thursday, January 14

First Week in Ordinary Time

1 Sam 4: 1-11; Mk 1: 40-45

God in a Tabernacle

Today’s first reading demands our special attention and reflection. As usual army of Israel was engaged in a battle with their neighboring nation of Philistines. They had a fierce initial encounter in which almost four thousand Israelite soldiers were slain. Gloom and anguish fell on the Israelite camp. The elders got together in wonder how and why Israel, the invincible Yahweh’s chosen people, who are ever supported by the mighty hands of the God of armed forces, were so severely thrashed. It was unthinkable for them to be defeated by a pagan army that worships demons. It was indeed a humiliation for Yahweh too. To teach them a lesson they decided to bring Yahweh himself to the forefront.

After the failed attempt of the Israelites at Mount Sinai to give a shape and face to their God in the form of a “golden bull” Moses conceded to their craving to have symbolic representation of Yahweh, by allowing them to build the “Ark of the Covenant” in which the Ten Commandments were placed. Ever since, like little children carrying around their toys and dolls, the people of Israel used to carry around their “Divine Toy” wherever they went and guarded it with utmost care and reverence. Though the people of Israel could not capture Yahweh in the form of an idol, they finally managed to capture him in a cage – the tabernacle. A God in tabernacle has a great advantage – people can lock Him up and bring Him out whenever they need Him to save them or defend them or lead them or when they find some free time to spend with Him. God should not be always around. People need privacy. God should not unnecessarily intervene in their day-to-day affairs! That is why one day is specially set apart and dedicated totally to His service!

The Ark was brought to the battle field and there was great jubilation and excitement among the Israelite army. The battle resumed in great enthusiasm and valor. However, by the end of the day the Israelite army was totally destroyed with a horrific casualty of thirty thousand dead and the Ark of the Covenant being captured and taken away by the Philistines. This is a good lesson to all those who trust in their toy Gods and believe that they twist the hands of God to achieve their goals. For many religious people God is but a sacred cow, which they feed with prayers and praises. Prophet Elijah too expected to see God in the tempest, earthquakes and fire but Yahweh was not there in any of them. Until he descended into the Hades of nada (emptiness) and purged himself of his inflated ego and got rid of his idolatrous beliefs; Yahweh refused to “appear” before him. Then in the mysterious “sound of sheer silence” the divine Guru whispered into the ears of his super-zealous disciple the unheard melodies of divine mercy. The message of the day: God is not a puppet or a puppy for us to take him for a ride! Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI


 January 14, 2016

One of the strangest paradoxes of the gospels is how Jesus conducts what could be called his PR (Public ­Relations) campaign. On the one hand, he certainly wants the Good News of his entering the stage of history to spread far and wide, as Matthew tells us: “He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues… His fame spread to all Syria” (Mt 4:23-24).So we would expect that Jesus would welcome any form of publicity which would make him known. Yet, on the other hand, he silences the demons who, incidentally, are the only ones who know who he really is, as he also discourages the beneficiaries of his healings (like the leper in today’s gospel reading) from making his hea­lings known. Why is this? Isn’t propaganda, especially gospel propa­ganda a good thing for Jesus?

Apparently not. Here the gospels are silent. So we must guess why Jesus shunned some forms of PR pitch. Perhaps he wanted the proclamation of him to be an act of love and devotion—which the demon’s proclamation was not. Perhaps he disliked to be known primarily as a miracle worker offering spiritual fireworks. Perhaps he wanted people to come to him for deeper reasons—because they were in search of God?


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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