Minute Homily: Show Yourself to the Priest

6th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

This Sunday’s readings deal with leprosy, which is a disfiguring disease that’s made all the more horrible because it’s very contagious. This means that in addition to its effects on the body it also has a social effect. Leprosy isolated people because they had to dwell apart from everyone else. This makes the healing of the leper that we read about in the gospel all the more poignant because Jesus wasn’t only healing the man of his disease but he was making it possible for him to rejoin the community.

I think our experience with Covid has enabled us all to sympathize with the lepers we read about in scripture, because we understand how a contagious disease can lead to isolation and just how difficult that can be.

And that’s why leprosy in particular is used in the scripture as a metaphor for sin, because sin acts in the same way. Sin is a spiritual disease that also leads to isolation from the community., because sin harms our relationships. The two great commandments are to love God and love our neighbor. And sin damages our relationship with God and it damages our relationships with each other.

So what’s the remedy? Just like the leper in this Sunday’s gospel, we need to come to Jesus and say, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Because Jesus, as both God and man, has the power to restore our relationship with God and neighbor by his forgiveness.

So how do we bring our sins to Jesus? We do just what Christ tells the leper in the gospel: “Go, show yourself to the priest.” We go to the sacrament of Confession, where the priest stands in the person of Christ using the authority Jesus gave the Apostles after his resurrection to forgive sins.

So if you’ve been isolated from God and neighbor by the spiritual disease of sin, come show yourself to the priest; show your spiritual wounds to Christ, the divine physician, and say, “If you wish, you can make me clean.”