13 January 2011 Thursday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 3: 7-14; Psalm 95; Mark 1:40-45
I hear a lot of celebrities saying in the middle of intrigues, “Words do not matter. It won’t kill me.” But words do matter. Take for example, malicious gossip. It destroyed many people’s reputation. It marred the way people look at you. It created a lot of prejudices that made things a lot more difficult to acquire. It also devastated many relationships that could have been fortified by trust. It had, in many ways, ostracized people: they lost their friends and found themselves alone.
In the Gospel today, the word that matter is “leprosy.” In the past, once you had been diagnosed with leprosy, you were automatically shunned from communal activities. You could not worship in public places. You were placed at the periphery of society. You had to live in graveyards considered by culture as a no-man’s land. The word leprosy was a stamp of death. There was no cure. Not like today, with the advent of a Multi-Drug Therapy or MDT, leprosy can now be healed.
But today, there are words that replaced the stigma of leprosy. A doctor’s diagnosis of “cancer” will catapult you to a new lifestyle. You will live in fear and dread. Or if words got around about you darkest secret, publicly revealed by your closest friends out of spite, it will throw you into a life of shame. Words do matter.
The Gospel teaches us that just as words wound people, words can also heal. Jesus’ words, “I do will it. Be made clean” are the sentences the leper want to hear. Those words restored Him to health, and thus returned him back to society.
It is good to understand that the word we dread to hear are replaced by the Word of God.
What words do you say that break or make people? Do you listen more to words that destroy or the words of God that builds our lives?