St. Mark 1:40

Dec. 2, 2021

40And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

I want to share this explanatory statement from the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible in regard to verse 40: “Leprosy was a skin disease that made victims unclean, i.e. unfit to participate in the liturgical life of Israel (Lev 13:1-8). Because ritual uncleanness was considered contagious, under the Old Covenant – infecting everyone who came into contact with it – lepers were isolated from society to keep those who were clean separated from those who were unclean (Lev 13:45-46). Jesus reaches across this divide when he touches the leper; and though others would be defiled by such contact, he conquers the uncleanness by the greater power of his holiness.”

Why would we read this at Advent? I think it’s because Jesus reached across the divide from heaven to earth when He submitted to the Father and came to us in human form. Through Him, at our baptism, our uncleanness of sin is washed away ‘by the greater power of his holiness”. In that day, with the leper, He opened the wider society to him; in our day, Jesus has opened heaven and we pray with the host of heaven and can come before God with our supplications.

Advent, like Lent, is a time when we look both forward and back; we look forward to the Resurrection and ‘the life of the world to come’, we look back to the time when we were lost in our sins and far from the Father. It is Jesus who reaches across the divide.


2 thoughts on “St. Mark 1:40”

  1. Audre I really liked this one. First I responded to the scripture and second, I thought you were spot-on in your comment. Jesus, who was really the Father, could be thought of as defiling Himself to come to us. He, the deffinition of clean, comes to be with us, the deffinition of unclean, so that He can bring us back to Himself clean and able to be in His presence. We become “reclean” because of His reaching out. That is the scripture and you got it exactly. TJ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for this. I’m no smarter than anyone else, I just try to present what I feel we’re being told and sharing the best way I know. Which is why taking the time to comment is so important. This is how we learn and grow. Thank you so much!


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