Foolish Disobedience

Mark 1: 40-45
Heb 3:7-14 / Psa 95

He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to Him.
(Mark 1:45)

We are in our disobedience
Stained by the leprosy of sin;
But thank God that in His patience
And His promise, we are made clean.

A man with leprosy came to Jesus and begged Him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to Him from everywhere. (Mark 1:40-45)

Reflection

It was ironic that by restoring the leprose man back to his community, our Lord found Himself instead unable to mix freely in any town or village, and had become the “outsider” that the former leper was. This was because the healed man did not obey the instructions of Jesus, telling everyone he met about his miraculous healing. Now everyone wanted to see who this ‘wonder worker’ was. It was akin to having stirred up a hornet’s nest.

Disobedience has always gotten man into trouble ever since God created him. If only Adam and Eve had not disobeyed the simple rules laid down by their Maker, life for all of mankind would still be a paradise on earth. And yet God did not allow the leprosy of sin to bring mankind to perdition. To bring man back to a clean slate, God would end up thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem, on a hill called “the Skull”, ostracized and tortured in a way worse than any leper.

How remarkable our God is, that our disobedience and wayward ways do not affect His divine compassion whenever we come to Him in humble supplication. He is always moved with pity by our various afflictions. However, we must not test the limits of His mercy. Today’s first reading says: “…if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” (Heb. 3:7-12)

How foolish a “faithless and unforgiven generation” is if they still persist in a life of sin in spite of all the signs that God has provided in the thousands of years since His Sacrifical Lamb died in Calvary. Our time in this life is so uncertain. Death can come like a sudden gust of wind and snuff out our fragile life like a flickering candle. Then how can the disobedient face his Maker? … ‘They shall never enter my rest.’

We were all unclean, Lord, in our foolishness and disobedience. But You touched us with your Word, and You have made us clean. Grant that we may never disobey Your statutes and decrees again. Amen.

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