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Bible Study on the Sunday Gospel

Updated: Feb 7

06 February 2024



Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

First Reading: Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1

Gospel: Mark 1:40-45


Mark 1:40-45 is not just a simple healing miracle but carries deep cultural and literary significance. It highlights Jesus' authority as the Messiah, the tension between secrecy and spreading the news about Jesus, the importance of obedience to the law, and the role of faith in healing.


Leprosy in Ancient Israel:

Leprosy held physical implications and carried heavy social and religious connotations in ancient Israel. Those afflicted with leprosy were considered ceremonially unclean and were isolated from the community. This isolation served dual purposes – it addressed physical health concerns while also upholding ritual purity laws, as described in the Leviticus 13 reading. The fear of contagion and the need to maintain ritual purity led to the social exclusion of lepers.


Healing as a Sign of Messiahship:

In the cultural context of first-century Judaism, healing miracles were perceived as signs of the Messiah's imminent arrival. When Jesus heals the leper in this passage, it potently demonstrates his divine authority and the inauguration of the Kingdom of God. It signifies Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah who brings healing and restoration.


Markan Structure and Themes:

The Gospel of Mark is known for its concise and action-oriented style. Mark's Gospel emphasizes Jesus as a man of action, highlighting His deeds over extensive teachings. The passage follows a recurring pattern found throughout Mark's Gospel: it begins with a healing miracle, followed by secrecy instructions (referred to as the 'Messianic Secret'), and concludes with an enthusiastic response, despite Jesus' directives to maintain silence.


The Messianic Secret:

In this passage, Jesus instructs the healed leper to refrain from spreading the news but rather to go and show himself to the priest by the Levitical law (Leviticus 14). However, the leper disobeyed and spread the news widely. This recurring tension between Jesus' desire for secrecy and the inevitable spread of His fame raises profound questions about His identity, mission, and the nature of true discipleship.


Obedience to the Law:

Jesus' instruction for the healed leper to present himself to the priest reflects His reverence for the law and commitment to fulfilling it. This act also underscores the significance of being an integral part of the religious community.


Faith and Healing:

Central to this passage is the leper's unwavering faith. His approach to Jesus is marked by confidence in Jesus' healing ability. Jesus responds with compassion and heals him, emphasizing the vital role of faith in Jesus' healing ministry. Mark 1:40-45 underscores Jesus' authority as the Messiah, the ongoing tension between secrecy and the dissemination of His message, the importance of obedience to the law, and the indispensable role of faith in experiencing Jesus' healing power.


Questions for personal reflection :

1. In light of Jesus' instructions for the healed leper to go and show himself to the priest, am I willing to humble myself and follow the guidance and teachings of Jesus even when they may seem contrary to my desires or societal expectations? How can I demonstrate a more profound commitment to obeying His commands daily?

2. Reflecting on the leper's unwavering faith in seeking healing from Jesus, do I approach my challenges and struggles with similar faith and trust in God's power to transform my life? How can I nurture and strengthen my faith to become a more faithful and committed disciple of Jesus, especially in moments of doubt or difficulty?


These questions encourage introspection and self-examination, prompting individuals to assess their commitment to following Jesus' teachings and the strength of their faith in their journey as His disciples.


Contexts of Grace:

1. Personal Transformation: When people humble themselves, obey God's commandments, and approach their challenges with faith, they open themselves to God's transformative power and spiritual growth.

2. Family Life: Embracing the values and teachings of Jesus in family life can bring God's graces to families. Families prioritizing love, forgiveness, and service to others create an environment where God's grace can flourish, fostering stronger bonds and a sense of divine presence in their homes.

3. Community Service: Engaging in acts of kindness, charity, and communal commitment as disciples of Jesus can bring God's graces to communities. Communities that collectively serve others and embody the spirit of Jesus' ministry experience God's blessings through unity, compassion, and positive social impact.


Contexts of Sin

1. Pride and Disobedience: When individuals or communities choose pride and disobedience to God's commandments, pride can lead to arrogance, selfishness, and a lack of accountability, while disobedience can result in moral decay and distance from God's graces.

2. Family Discord: Families that do not prioritize love, forgiveness, and the teachings of Jesus may find themselves in conflicts, bitterness, and broken relationships.

3. Self-Centeredness: Neglecting community service and communal commitment can lead to self-centeredness and a lack of concern for others in society. This context can manifest in social injustices, inequality, and a lack of empathy, hindering the realization of God's grace within the broader community.


Prayer:

Lord, deepen our faith, obedience, and understanding of Your healing grace.


vea,rcj


Getting to Know Saint Hannibal Mary Di Francia:



Saint Hannibal Mary, the founder of the Daughters of the Divine Zeal and the Rogationist of the Heart of Jesus Congregations, discovered the cure for the world's sickness in the Rogate. The Rogate (pronounced ro‧ga‧te and not gayt) is the secret for all good works.


The Secret of all good works

(From the Father's Soul, page 112-113):


Unfortunately, the Father wrote no complete work on the Rogate. Treating the topic about prayer, he promises "a special chapter" (Vol. l, page 66) on the Rogationist prayer; but, death prevented him to do so. However, because the mouth speaks whatever fills the mind (Mt. l2, 34), and the Father's heart overflowed with love and zeal for spreading the divine command, being never satisfied with calling the attention of the people on this subject, the Rogate emerges from all his writings, revealing his spirit. Let us glean this field.


The Father gives prominence to that divine word.


More than an exhortation, the Rogate is a command of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Christians on the whole, and to the priests specifically... This word of the incarnate wisdom contains a secret of salvation for the Church and society (Vol. 3, page 57).


It is God who raises his ministers, who sends out holy vocations from heaven, but he wants us to pray. The Rogate is a command. The most holy Heart of Jesus burns with the desire of granting such a mercy, and hopes that the peoples (and all the priests) leave out the negligence of this command by imploring holy vocations. While seeing the ruin of many generations of souls redeemed by his very precious blood, Jesus cries out: Rogate ergo. Plenty of souls would be saved, and many of them would achieve sanctification if the mystical workers catechized, edified, and instructed them in the faith and religion (Vol. 37, page l23). "The Church and the peoples could achieve copious goods from the faithful obedience to, and from the universal propagation of this evangelical rogation (Vol. 44, page ll2). "That word keeps the secret of the salvation of souls and the curability of the nations (Vol. 45, page 399).


God made the nations curable, but no remedy is so effective as plenty of evangelical workers, who are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. This is a radical cure: therefore, let us adhere to this holy radicalism, if we want a sure social rebirth ! (Precious Adhesions, l90l, page 38). With regard to the Church, society, and the world, the Rogate is the means which achieves all goods and the salvation in time and eternity (Precious Adhesions, l9l9, page 7). This word of Jesus Christ is a command of the zeal of his divine heart; word and command of a supreme importance, sure remedy for the salvation of the Church and society (Vol. 2, page l44). The Rogate contains the secret of all good works and the salvation of all souls (Precious Adhesions, l90l, page 5); therefore, it is not surprising if Satan sees the destruction of his kingdom in the spreading of this divine prayer (Vol. 2, page l45).


It goes without saying that the obedience to this divine command is the holy Church's greatest means to build up the kingdom of God; on the contrary, the negligence of this great means is the very cause of the desolation of the holy place, the ruin of the peoples, and of the nations... Rogate ergo! This is the great word, the divine command which only the most holy heart of Jesus' zeal could give. As the Bible says, this zeal devoured the divine heart with a greatest interest of the holy Church, the interest for copious ministers for a greater glory of God and the salvation of souls (God and Neighbor, special issue, June l925, page l3).





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