Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - SIN
- the prime cause of spiritual illness, and, therefore, the main objective for Christ's healing powers.

Leviticus 13:1-2,44-46: - The passage from Leviticus concerns itself more with a matter of public health in a primitive community. But, we are entitled to draw a religious moral from it - the need to acknowledge sin, a spiritual disease, so that healing may take place and the community be protected. Biblical thinking often concluded that diseases such as leprosy were punishment by God for sin.

Corinthians 10:31,11:1 - In this passage from his letter to the Corinthians, Paul adopts a much milder tone than we have seen as he urges them to abandon their many prejudices, racial and religious, so that they may follow Christ more closely.

Mark 1:40-45 - Here we see outlined the procedure to be followed in order to be reconciled, to be spiritually healed, namely acknowledgement followed by a request for healing resulting in cure.

Point 1: - Sin has become a fairly old fashioned word; indeed, in some circles it is avoided because it creates a "guilt" complex and so contributes to "neuroses". In point of fact, one of the greatest contributing factors to "neuroses" in today's society is the unwillingness to acknowledge the fact of sin and the need to ask for forgiveness. Modern society has little time or space for an attempted solution to its many problems which it cannot devise itself, regardless of how fragile, even ineffectual, such solutions are. War, famine, segregation and intense human suffering continue to proliferate. Christian thinking centres on the fact that people have sinful tendencies and predispositions.

Point 2: From earliest childhood we are exposed to and influenced by social taboos, bigotry and prejudice stemming from either racial or religious grounds. We find ourselves being drawn to habits of dishonesty, exploitation, cruelty, laziness, insensitivity, self indulgence, blaming others, punishing others, and vindictiveness - not to mention a whole host of faults, vices, bad habits and other moral and spiritual weaknesses. If we are to resist such tendencies, we need to acknowledge that there is a better way to act; that there is room for improvement. And here we come to the nub of Christian thinking, namely, that such improvement only comes with God's help and this has to be asked for!

Conclusion: Herein lies the point of the encounter between the leper and Jesus. The leper approaches Jesus and pleads on his knees; he acknowledges the authority of Jesus -" If you want to, you can cure me". Jesus' response confirms this authority -"Of course I want to". The encounter concludes with the cure and the admonishment not to broadcast this news, knowing full well, that that is exactly what would happen! Here we see the classical format of "Problem", "Cure", and "Acknowledgement".

In answer to the question - what has happened to sin?" the answer is that it is still around. We should not be complacent regarding our need for spiritual healing. The Scriptures remind us that a time will come when hidden faults are to be accounted for; it makes sense, then, to argue that now would appear to be an acceptable time to acknowledge the faults that we have so that they may be forgiven.

Scriptural reference: "I acknowledge my sin to you and I did not hide my iniquity. I said 'I will confess my transgression to the Lord', then you did forgive my sin. (Psalm 32:5)