" ITREALMS: 'Nigeria is leprous, needs God's healing'


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Sunday, February 11, 2018

'Nigeria is leprous, needs God's healing'

Sunday Sermon@ITREALMS:
In the first reading, we are made to understand that lepers were to go through a situation that was very harsh. The fate lepers were to face was at the instance of the Lord. The book of Leviticus 13 and 14 helps us to understand that it was the Lord who directed Moses and Aaron to ostracise anyone who was leprous. This leprosy was not just much of a disease but considered to be uncleanness as well. So as the priest excommunicates a leper, only him can reintegrate a leper.

Leprosy is destructive and killing; ostracised and smells, thus incapacitates one.

And so, if God was the one rendering his justice upon those who were struck with leprosy, it was just right that his servants (the Priests) who knows the mind of God should declare one leprous. Meaning that, leprosy was not just a physical disease but a spiritual one as well. It defiled the body and soul. Not just that, but, its cure was a problem. The priest could only convict a leper but only Christ would cure such a person.

Thus, upon conviction, the leprous person was to accept that he/she is leprous by wearing torn cloth and shouting unclean. He will have to humble him/herself under the mighty hand of God and accept the punishment due to his/her iniquity. At the same time the leprous person was to exclude himself from communal life. Meaning the shame that came with being leprouse, the person must face. 

Brethren, this is what sin does to us, it renders us unclean, makes us put on torn clothes of disobedience, unfaithfulness, violence, murder, insults and abuse; shouting unrest, chaos, disturbance and unworthiness. With these, shame embodies us, weakening our relationship with God.

Jesus in the gospel text of Mark is faced with the same issue. And unlike the prescription given of a leper in the first reading, here is one who runs to Jesus in humility kneeling and begging for mercy. He first of all request for mercy. Brothers and sisters, mercy is given to those who approach Christ with reverence and humility. We are lepers as well, sin has made us so; as such, when we refuse to show honour, humility and respect to Jesus who is the only person that can show us kindness we reject his divine touch.

With the approach of the leper, Jesus Christ will now show this poor soul compassion and healing. He stretched out his hand and touched him and he became well. Friends in Christ, if leprosy depicts uncleanness then we are all leprosy in need of that sublime touch of God.

We need God to heal us of the leprosy of immorality, drunkenness, drugs, sexual perversion, jealousy, envy, hatred etc. For at different points in time our sins have separated us from the Communion we are to enjoy with God. 

Nigeria is leprous; incapacitated. What is more leprous than a nation whose young ones remain jobless? Mass killing and burial regularly? Schools abondoned? Etc

We pray God to come to our aid, heal us of our leprosy, reconcile us with his Son and grant in us the grace to run to Him always for healing each time we sin through Christ our Lord Amen.

*Contributed by Rev. Fr. Simon Peter Dzungwe from the Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan.

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