There is often no escape from illness. And, sometimes an illness is considered socially unacceptable and those afflicted cannot escape the injustice and the judgement that can accompany the condition. Today’s readings focus on leprosy, but they could be about any disease or condition that evokes fear, alienation or condemnation. Those who suffer are urged to turn to God for healing. All of us are called to imitate Jesus, who throughout his life, embraced and healed the sick and outcast. It is a hard challenge to ignore and an even harder one for many of us to accept.
- Lord Jesus, you heard the leper who called upon you for help: Lord, have mercy.
- Christ Jesus, you stretched out your hand and healed the outcast: Christ, have mercy.
- Lord Jesus, you call us to open our hearts, especially to the marginalized: Lord, have mercy.
- Lv 13:1-2, 44-46 Ancient Israelite teachings on purity/leprosy
- Ps 32 I turn to you, Lord in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation
- 1 Cor 10:31-11:1 Paul’s summary advice about Christian behavior
- Mk 1:40-45 Jesus heals the leper
Prayer of the Faithful
Presider We pray now for all in need of healing, especially the alienated.
Minister For the whole church: that we may faithfully imitate Christ in embracing the world’s sick and disenfranchised ... we pray,
- For those who are treated as “lepers” today because of racism, sexism, economic inequality, or any kind of injustice; and for the courage to own our complicity in all manner of social sin ... we pray,
- For those who suffer from socially unacceptable diseases; for programs and people who care for them; and for our own compassionate concern ... we pray,
- For health care that adequately meets the needs of all people; and for the willingness to provide it even at our own personal cost ... we pray,
- For all of us who seek to heal others through our parish ministries or through loving attention, listening or any kind of caring support ... we pray,
Presider God of mercy, we turn to you on behalf of all who are troubled in any way. We yearn to be people of compassion, but we sometimes lack the courage to reach out to those considered unacceptable. Help us to treat all who suffer as Jesus did. We ask this in his healing name. Amen.