THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE LEPROSY OF SIN
February 12, 2012
1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1
The Israelites had very strict laws on leprosy. In sum, anyone
who was leprous was declared unclean and had to be excluded
from the people. He was to “dwell apart, making his
abode outside the camp.” (Lev 13:46b). He was to move
about crying out “Unclean, unclean!” (Lev 13:45c).
This is so people could avoid him and possible contagion.
this was because the Israelites were called to be a holy people,
God’s own people. They looked to purity, and reflected
this in their laws. Any uncleanness, whether of certain foods
or childbirth or chronic flow from private parts or menstruation
or leprosy, was enough reason to be excluded. One then needed
to go through rites of purification to be restored to community
Today the scourge of leprosy has by and large been eliminated
by modern medicine. But what remains is the leprosy of sin.
Sin makes us unclean, and grave sin cuts us off from God and
excludes us from the fellowship of His people. During Jesus’
time, lepers were clearly identifiable, in fact even having
to proclaim themselves unclean. Today, aside from overt sinners,
sin resides in the hearts of people, and others are not aware
of their sin. They might even be not just active in church,
but active as leaders. Some of them might even be priests.
in ancient Israel, where lepers were excluded, sinners are
invited to come and return to fellowship with God and enter
into the life of the Church. In fact, God searches for those
lost sheep. And when found, the community of God’s people,
including the angels and saints in heaven, break out in great
do not need to doubt God’s mercy. We do not have to
ask, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” (Mk
1:40b). Jesus went to the cross to make us whole. Jesus certainly
desires that we become pure. His response is swift, “I
do will it. Be made clean.” (Mk 1:41b). Let us always
be confident as we turn to Jesus: “Then I declared my
sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, ‘I confess
my faults to the Lord,’ and you took away the guilt
of my sin.” (Ps 32:5).
How would we feel if we experienced God’s mercy and
healing and were made pure? We would be ecstatic with joy!
“Happy the sinner whose fault is removed, whose sin
is forgiven.” (Ps 32:1). We would be so joyful that
we could not contain such joy. We would need to proclaim to
all what God has done for us. The leper “went away and
began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report
abroad” (Mk 1:45-46a).
From the leprosy of sin to a life of purity. From being banished
from God’s people to being in full fellowship with God
and the Church. From a life of misery to a life a great joy.
Such is our new life in Christ. It is a life lived only “for
the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31b).
leper was rejected and excluded. The “just” and
the “upright of heart” (Ps 32:11), the one who
lives pure, whose light shines forth, attracts others. We
then point them to Christ as we show them the way. “Be
imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1). Then
we look to them flocking to Jesus, the One who heals and makes
clean. May it indeed be that “people kept coming to
him from everywhere.” (Mk 1:45d).
* * *