Sunday, February 15, 2009

Things noticed in Readings

It's funny how the mind can wander at times during Mass.  I know, I should be paying attention to the readings, but sometimes things just jump out at you, even after you've read the readings time and time again in homily preparation.

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.

3 comments:

michael r. said...

Today's readings really affected me as well, as I am in an advanced stage of melanoma, another skin disease. I guess we have a little something in common, Father. I have always been familiar with the Gospel narrative, but hadn't really come across the Leviticus reading for many years. It's terribly disturbing, no?

Scott Hahn said...

Fr. Kyle,
Thank you so much for your priesthood, and for your work as Director of Vocations in the Cincinnati Archdiocese. May our Lord richly bless your efforts -- with a flood tide of vocations!

Kurt H said...

Wow, did you know that Dr. Hahn was following your blog?

Now I'm a little intimidated to ask you what he says in the CD set about Hebrews 10:26-31.