The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 1:40-45

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 31, 2016

Text in red, if any, are my additions.

Mar 1:40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him and kneeling down, said to him: If thou wilt thou canst make me clean.

A leper. One afflicted with leprosy a terrible skin disease, and
very common in the East.

The Jews called it “The Finger of God” or “the Stroke.” It is rarely cured, at least in its most malignant forms. It is also extremely loathsome in its worst stages. Scales cover the body, and the members gradually drop off. It resembles a universal cancer. Leprosy is a type of sin. Lepers were considered unclean in general, and were forbidden to approach the dwellings of those not so affected. It should be noted that the biblical use of the term λεπρος (lepros) and it’s cognates does not necessarily indicate that one was afflicted with actual leprosy (today called “Hanson’s Disease”).

Beseeching, kneeling down. One of St Mark s vivid touches.

If thou wilt. The leper’s prayer shows modesty, humility, confidence, submission to God’s will, and a firm faith in Christ’s healing power.

Mar 1:41 And Jesus, having compassion on him, stretched forth his hand and touching him saith to him: I will. Be thou made clean.
Mar 1:42 And when he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him: and he was made clean.

having compassion. A detail peculiar to St Mark.

stretched forth his hand. Jesus touched the leper in spite of the Mosaic prohibition, possibly:

(a) to show that He was “the Lord of the law.”
(b) To prove the virtue of His human nature.
(c) To show His loving compassion for the leper.

Priests were allowed to touch the lepers in pronouncing them clean, and Jesus is our High Priest. Although the Jews were forbidden to touch a corpse, yet Eliseus (Elisha) touched the dead child whom he restored to life (2 Kings 4:4), thus showing that divine miracles are above ritual precepts.

Mar 1:43 And he strictly charged him and forthwith sent him away.

charged him, i.e. He charged him that he should tell no man (St Luke 5:14). Jesus strictly commanded the leper not to noise abroad the miracle. He did not wish to confirm, the Jews in their idea concerning the temporal reign of the Messiah. On other occasions our Lord commanded silence respecting miraculous cures (see page 49).

Jesus in dismissing the leper bids him practice:

1. Humility, see thou tell no man.
2. Obedience, go, shew thyself to the priests.
3. Gratitude, offer for thy cleansing, etc.

Mar 1:44 And he saith to him: See thou tell no one; but go, shew thyself to the high priest and offer for thy cleansing the things that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.

to the high-priest. These words may refer to the one who presided
over the priests then serving in their weekly course, or to the high-priest himself.

the things that Moses commanded. Two living sparrows, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop (a kind of wild marjoram).

Mar 1:45 But he being gone out, began to publish and to blaze abroad the word: so that he could not openly go into the city. but was without in desert places. And they flocked to him from all sides.

began to publish, etc. Did the leper sin by so doing 1 Probably not, as it is most likely that he regarded the prohibition as being prompted by our Lord’s humility. Doubtless the man in his excitement
could not refrain from expressing joy and gratitude; moreover, even if he himself had not published it, the leper’s friends and acquaintances must have perceived his sudden return to perfect health.

not openly go into the city, on account of the crowd, which, attracted by the fame of His miracles, continually followed Him, and impeded His journey.

One Response to “Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 1:40-45”

  1. Francisco J. Walker said

    Thanks so much for your uniquely rich website…it does help priest and preachers a lot (most specially because we don’t have the time anymore to research as we should)
    Rev. Francsico J. Walker
    Pastor of Guardian Angel RC Church in BRighton BEach (Brooklyn NY)

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