Sixth Sunday After Epiphany

& archive, Year B.

Prayer before reading:

Lord Jesus,
You call us to come
To be with you.
By your Spirit help me
To see you
To know you
To follow you.
Amen

Read slowly. Listen deeply. Indwell the scripture.

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

While we are engaged in doing the work of God we also discover that we are the work of God. God is at work in us. This is what the disciples discover as they leave their nets and boats to follow Jesus. And this what they invite us to discover as we walk alongside them as we enter the gospel narrative in Mark.

Simon Peter draws our attention now to the people who come to Jesus and those whom Jesus seeks out. We encounter the religious leaders of the day, and how their lives are steeped in a long tradition of following the Mosaic law; they also are listening, watching, and asking questions about Jesus. At the heart of their observance of the Law lies the need to be righteous and thus acceptable before God. The Pharisees place a great deal of emphasis on gaining righteousness by separating themselves from people whom they consider unclean, even refusing to eat with anyone who does not observer certain laws and traditions. Some persons are judged untouchable and so become social outcasts, creating a painful rift within the community of Israel.

Jesus surprises everyone as he moves with compassion into this fracture, offering the healing invitation of the kingdom. He wades into this restless sea of lonely people, casting the net wide, announcing God’s love and presence. He offers us spiritual direction, challenging our tidy religious and social rules inn his response to a leper who approaches, kneels before him, and says, “If you choose, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity (suffering with this man who suffers), Jesus stretches out his hand, touches him, and replies, “I do so choose. Be made clean!”

The Mosaic law forbade persons with leprosy from being present in their local community. Lepers learned to stand at a distance, announcing their presence by shouting out, “Unclean! Unclean!” alerting others to pass at a distance. The blessing and comfort of touch was unknown to them. As Jesus stands before the man with leprosy, he is both angry and full of compassion: angry, probably because of the pain and the lonely rift this man inhabits. Healing needs to sink into the many layers of this man’s body and life. Thus Jesus also offers pastor guidance to assist people in welcoming this man back into the community.

As you linger in this gospel narrative in Mark 1:40-45, what are you drawn to? What catches your attention? What do you sense God’s invitation is to you?
Prayer before reading:

Lord Jesus Christ,
You come to us.
You are God
Showing up among us
With us.
By your Spirit
Help me to see you
To know your voice
Among the many voices
To hear you
As you see and hear the deepest
Desires of my soul.
Amen

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

  • 2/6 Monday: Mark 1:40-45
  • 2/7 Tuesday: Mark 1:40-45
  • 2/8 Wednesday: Psalm 30
  • 2/9 Thursday: 2 Kings 5:1-14
  • 2/10 Friday: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
  • 2/11 Saturday: Mark 1:40-45
  • 2/12 Sunday: Mark 1:40-45