As a little backstory, I've been listening to a series of 8 cd's by Scott Hahn on the Letter to the Hebrews (AMAZING!), and one of his main points during his presentation is that you can't just look at the reading itself, especially when the author quotes a segment of the Old Testament, you have to look at the context; ie what's happening before and after the quoted passage, because the author often has that in mind as well in quoting a specific passage.
Ok, with that in mind, I heard once again in the First Reading from Leviticus for today's Mass that lepers were to remove themselves from the camp and make their dwelling outside the abode.
Fast forward to the Gospel, the wonderful image of Jesus touching the leper, when they were to be shunned and avoided at all costs, is such a powerful image for me. (Especially with my suffering from Discoid Lupus, which I always wonder if it would have branded me a leper at the time of Jesus.)
Anyway, to touch a leper was to make oneself ritually impure, in a sense to take on the disease for yourself. And at the end of the Gospel passage, notice where Jesus is: he is now outside the villages and has to dwell there.
This is a forshadowing of his propetiary sacrifice. He is starting to take the sufferings and sins of the crowd onto himself so that when His mission on earth is to be completed on the Cross, He has gathered it all to Himself and can then offer it all, the weaknesses, sins and illnesses that aflict the human race, back to the Father.
It is so easy to slide over these details, even as a homilist. Yet, when we are able to take that step back and see this particular story in the context of the whole breadth of Scripture, wowzers.