January 14, 2021
by Tamora Whitney
Creighton University's English Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the First Week of Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 308

Hebrews 3:7-14
Psalm 95:6-7, 8-9, 10-11
Mark 1:40-45

Praying Ordinary Time
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“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” It’s been a difficult time. It’s been hard to stay hopeful. It would be easy to harden our hearts, to give up hope. But I hope, I think there is hope. It’s a new year, there are new developments. There’s a vaccine. Perhaps we can permit ourselves some hope.

In the gospel, Jesus heals a leper. Leprosy was a horrible and isolating disease. It was incurable and contagious. Its victims were not permitted in society and were considered unclean. In fact, they had to call “Unclean, Unclean” to warn people of their presence so they could keep appropriate distance. But a leper came to Jesus (which was against the rules of social distancing) and recognized his healing abilities. The leper said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” And Jesus did. He said, “I will do it. Be clean.” The leper heard his voice. He recognized that Jesus could change his life. Even though Jesus told him to go straight to the priest, the leper was so excited at his cure that he told everyone. He could now be among society again. He did not harden his heart; he heard his voice and responded. He was now clean, he was free. Of course now everyone wanted healing and Jesus was overwhelmed as people kept coming to him from everywhere. They heard his voice. They did not harden their hearts. The leper permitted himself hope where there was no hope. There was no cure, but Jesus made him clean. He heard his voice, and his heart was made light.

“Today is the day, and now the proper hour, to forsake our sinful lives and turn to the Lord.”  Every day we should listen for his voice. “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

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