It all starts with a small spot, perhaps something that does not look life threatening. But it spreads inexorably through your skin, and with no remedy available, it ends up deforming your limbs and your face, leaving you with no sense of touch, unable to walk or use your hands. And what is more painful still, one has to abandon his family, his job and the village in which he lived, likely never to return. Whoever is infected, is left alone and doomed to spend his life seeing his body slowly decay. It looks like something taken from a movie about zombies, but it is not, it is leprosy, one of the most terrifying illnesses at the time of Jesus.
In the gospel today a man who found himself in that same situation, went desperately to Jesus. Once again, we are confronted with a story full of oddities. For example, this leper somehow made it into the city without being killed, and not only that, he also got close enough to Jesus to kneel at his feet (no mention, of course, of the apostles or anyone else there who might have avoided that from happening). And in the end, all these unusual coincidences, make the strangest thing happen: he is touched by Jesus.
Not that it was unusual for Jesus to touch ill people. But touching a leper was altogether unprecedented. It had already been established that Jesus could cure people by a simple command. Why is it then, that this man had to be touched by Jesus? What illness did this man have that required him to be touched, or rather, what caused this man to be ill that he needed to be touched? I can only offer one answer: He needed to experience love. And feeling loved and accepted once again cured him.
However, the greatest sign of love might not be in the touching. The man, being a leper had been forced to live alone, outside the city. However, after he got cured, he was free to go into the city once again, which he did. In fact, he went everywhere telling people what had happened to him. The interesting detail is that since then “Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived”. It is as if Jesus and the leper had swapped places!
And this, seems to me to be the greatest sign of love. Jesus did not just touch him, but he went even further, and without becoming a leper, he took the “curse” of being a leper. Which, in fact, might be a prophecy of what would happen later on the cross. Where Jesus, once again, without becoming an impostor, or a criminal… without becoming a sinner, he hanged there as if he was one because he had taken our place. Which means, that perhaps the leper of the Gospel today might not be so special, and his story not so uncommon after all. Jesus is just as ready to touch you and to take your place.
Fr Daniel Herrero Peña
This weekend the Cardinal has written a pastoral letter concerning the celebration of Ash Wednesday. In light of the current Covid situation the Cardinal suggests we celebrate Ash Wednesday at home with family, household or support bubble.
His letter will be read at all Masses.
You can also find the text using the button bellow.
Mass 10.00 am with blessing and imposition of ashes.
12.00 noon reading of the Gospel and imposition of ashes (No Mass)
6.30 pm reading of the Gospel and imposition of ashes (No Mass)
We will email a bulletin from the Diocese´s agency for evangelization with ideas for making a good Lent.
During Lent we will be supporting the Cardinal's Lenten Appeal.
Leaflets and envelopes are at the back of the Church.
This Lent, please support the Cardinal’s Lenten Appeal
and help provide food for children and families in our
communities who are facing hunger. You could also support
work to help our brothers and sisters come through the
global pandemic stronger and better able to cope.
You can make your donations using the link bellow:
Even if you have already decided to participate in another Lent Course (there are many on offer) please consider joining with other Christians in RBKC (including KCC and CTiNH) for one hour, each Wednesday this Lent.
See all details bellow on the attached poster.
Another Lent study group for you to consider.
Global Healing Course for Lent. Throughout Lent, the Global Catholic Climate Movement is holding a series of online evenings with inspiring speakers, films, prayer and discussion, challenging people to respond to Pope Francis' call to Care for Our Common Home in Laudato Si'. Hosted by the GCCM Laudato Si' Animators in the UK the events take place on six Thursdays from 18th February - 25th March 2021, 7.30pm - 8.30pm. To register please click here: