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Reflection on the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted on February 14, 2021, by Maria Visse SL

When preparing a homily I always look up some general information about the origins of the Gospel for this day.  The Gospel according to St. Mark was written about 70 A.D. when the newly forming Christian community is moving away from Jewish religious traditions and opening out to the Gentile community.

This is a busy Sunday.  A time to consider the readings in today’s service, the beginning of Lent this coming Wednesday and Valentine’s Day. 

The first reading is taken from the 13th chapter of Leviticus, a chapter that is devoted to a clinical description of leprosy and how the priests should diagnose and then counsel an individual on the care of the infection. If the infection doesn’t heal then the person is instructed to get out of town. 

   The very short second reading is the conclusion to Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians. Paul established the Corinthian community in about 50 AD. In reading through the Epistle, I see Paul helping the community to work through the conflicts between factions within the group.  It is fruitful to read the Epistle in this time of deep divisions within our country.  We follow Paul’s deliberate, persistent efforts to bring to the members of the community an awareness of the presence of God in their daily lives. Paul doesn’t shy away from confronting the situations and individuals that promote the factions, but he continually shares the teachings of Jesus to encourage his flock to come together in the presence of a loving God.

“Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on you what God has prepared for those who love God.”

The connection that I see in these two readings is an evolution in the tone of the teachings.  In Leviticus the priests come to the community with sets of laws, pages of details on how to live up to “the commandments that the Lord gave Moses on Mount Sinai.”  Paul comes into Corinth, lives with the people, encourages them to take a look at their behaviors, takes the time to share what he has come to know in his experience of Jesus’ teaching, in the life of Jesus.  Paul is there to share the presence of Jesus in his daily life. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

The Gospel is taken from the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark.  Since January we have followed Jesus as he begins his public life, his ministry, beginning with his baptism by John and the “beloved Son” blessing. We follow Jesus and the disciples as they move from town to town. And Jesus “taught with authority, and not like the scribes.” He also went about healing. Today we see his response to this leper.  “Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, ‘I do will it. Be made clean.’” He touched him. 

I think what I’m trying to share is a sense of a journey.  A God journey. Start with catechism definitions that provide a beginning to think about God.  The journey continues as we listen to Jesus.  “I’ll tell you who God is.  God is love. Love one another as I have loved you.”  And the years go by, and, it is hoped, the journey leads to that sensation of being touched by God. Touched, a sensation of a whole presence.

I can’t help connecting the presence of God in my life to friendship. Valentine Day celebrates friendships. In my life the most valuable gifts I have are my friends. In my God journey they are what keeps me on the journey with their presence in my life through thick and thin. With memories that can come alive at any moment, with a hug that lightens a dark time. A touch that comforts or just feels good. 

Wednesday the season of Lent begins. We live in a country that is faced with fear of change that expresses that fear with violence.  In the life of Jesus we see the same situation, and it led to his death.  As I reflect on the life and death of Jesus during Lent, I will pray for each and every person in this country who is willing to, like Jesus, speak and act for a change of heart when faced with fear.

May our sharing in the Eucharist be a source of continued dedication to our commitment to work for justice and act for peace. 


Maria Visse SL

Maria, a member of the Sisters of Loretto since 1955, served as the Loretto Motherhouse Service Coordinator for many years. Among her many other works, she served as a labor and delivery nurse. In 2017, she and Kay Carlew SL spent a month in Ghana visiting with and observing the work of the Daughters of the Most Blessed Trinity, one of Loretto’s sister communities. A gifted singer and musician, Maria often may be found leading the congregation in song.