6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 6th Sunday after Epiphany – 2nd Sunday before Lent
2 Kings 5:1-14
2 Kings is simply the second scroll of a single work. It covers from the reign of Ahaziah (c 850-849 BCE) to the Assyrian destruction of Samaria (721 BCE). Today’s story of the Aramean leper has a anonymous kings of Aram and Israel highlighting its legendary character. Naaman’s “leprosy” was a skin problem that did not disfigure him or disqualify him from military rank, or entering temples. The story highlights that those of highter status depend on those of lower status. Abana River is just north of Damascus (capital of Aram). Pharphar River is south of the city.
(Roman Catholics use Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46)
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
At the Isthmian games (held about 13km from Corinth every two years) the crown was made of withered celery. These games probably took place in the year prior to the writing of this letter.
(Roman Catholics use 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1)
Since the 1868 work of Gerhard Hansen we know that what we call leprosy is chronic but not highly infectious. The loss of sensation and ulceration of the extremities differs from what appears to be described here and in Leviticus 13 and 14. Possibly what is described in the Bible is Psoriasis. Physical imperfection was regarded as against holiness. Those suffering were to be isolated – a terrible state for people in Mediterranean culture. Jesus touches the leper, challenging cultural norms, and restoring the leper to membership within the community. He commands in the passive – may God cleanse the leper. At the end of the story, Jesus has taken on the isolation experienced by the leper at the start of the story.
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Don’t forget: each week I also publish a reflection on the collect/opening prayer.
- Reflect on readings February 22
- Reflect on Transfiguration Sunday (Sunday before Lent)
- Reflect with me on the readings for February 8
- Reflect on readings March 8
- Reflect on readings March 1