Wednesday, Nov. 11th 2020

Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop

Today's Mass Readings

 

In the Old Testament, there can be a reality whereby you are made “unclean” — that is unable, because of some physical or moral ailment, amongst other reasons, that prevents you from being able to enter into society or to encounter God. This so because God’s holiness is dangerous to us if we are sinful or unclean, much like getting too close to a raging fire without protection. Holiness is that protection.

Biblical holiness is the quality of being set apart for God and God alone, and it granted Israelite people the ability to encounter God safely. Israel, as a nation was called to this holiness. This special place was one of election and exclusivity—as God initially desired it.

This sign of exclusivity and election begins to change over time, however, into one of encounter and redemption. Instead of people having to make themselves holy to encounter God safely, God would come and make us holy. This is seen in the dramatic fashion of Isaiah’s vision of heaven, where coal is used to purify his lips. God came to him to cleanse instead of the other way around.

The lepers in our Gospel are within this moment. Their physical aliment prevents them from being able to encounter God at the temple or see their communities, they must become holy again. But under their own power, they are unable to, so, God comes to them and heals them. He makes them clean; he makes them holy.

All of us are called to be holy, that is, set apart for God. But we are unable to make ourselves clean and so are in need of healing. Our sins, our own leprous disease, prevents us from encountering God. So, call out to him, go to confession, be healed, and rejoice in his mercy.

Reflection by Fr. Etienne Huard, OSB

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