Tonight on Perspectives the Holy Father sends a message to the faithful for lent, and we take a look at events across the country.
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 12, 2012
The readings for this Sunday are: Leviticus 13:1-2, 45-46; 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1; Mark 1:40-45
The first reading for this Sunday outlines the harsh laws for people with skin diseases usually labelled correctly or incorrectly as a form of leprosy (Leviticus 13:1-2; 45-46).
Throughout history, few diseases have been as dreaded as the horrible affliction known as leprosy. It was so common and severe among ancient peoples that God gave Moses extensive instructions to deal with it as evidenced in chapters 13 and 14 from Leviticus. The belief that only God could heal leprosy is key to understanding today’s miracle that proves Jesus’ identity.
Leprosy in the Bible appears in two principle forms. Both start with discolouration of a patch of skin. The disease becomes systemic and involves the internal organs as well as the skin. Marked deformity of the hands and feet occur when the tissues between the bones deteriorate and disappear.
In Jesus’ time, lepers were forced to exist outside the community, separated from family and friends and thus deprived of the experience of any form of human interaction. We read in Leviticus 13:45-46 that lepers were to wear torn clothes, let their hair be disheveled, and live outside the camp. These homeless individuals were to cry “Unclean, unclean!” when a person without leprosy approached them. Lepers suffered both the disease and ostracism from society. In the end, both realities destroy their victims’ lives. One may indeed wonder which was worse: the social ostracism experienced or the devastating skin lesions.
As a medical doctor and professor at Queen’s University, Dr. Jacalyn Duffin has an interesting CV. Her specialty? Miracles. In her career, Dr. Duffin has surveyed more than 1,400 miracles pertaining to 229 different canonizations and 145 beatifications from 1588 to 1999. In this edition of Catholic Focus, host Jenna Murphy will examine the place of miracles in the Church and their impact on the lives of those affected by them.