FIRST READING
Judah was taken into exile of its land
A reading from the second Book of Kings (2 Kings 25:1-12)

In the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem, and laid siege to it; and they built siege works against it round about. So the city was besieged till the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Then a breach was made in the city; the king with all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, by the king’s garden, though the Chaldeans were around the city. And they went in the direction of Arbah. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him. Then they captured the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, who passed sentence upon him. They slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in fetters, and took him to Babylon. In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month – which was the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon – Nebuzaradan, the captain of the bodyguard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. And he burned the house of the Lord, and the king’s house and all the house of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. And all the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem. And the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had deserted to the king in Babylon, together with the rest of the multitude, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried into exile. But the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and ploughmen.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 137:1-2,3,4-5,6(R 6ab)
R/. O let my tongue cleave to my palate if I remember you not!.

By the rivers of Babylon
There we sat and wept,
Remembering Sion;
On the poplars that grew there
We hung up our harps. R.

For it was there that they asked us,
Our captors, for songs,
Our oppressors, for joy.
“Sing to us,” they said,
“one of Sion’s songs.”. R.

R/. O let my tongue cleave to my palate if I remember you not!.

O how could we sing
The song of the Lord
On foreign soil?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
Let my right hand wither! R.

O let my tongue
Cleave to my plate
If I remember you not,
If I prize not Jerusalem
As the first of my joys! R.

ALLELUIA Matthew 8:17
Alleluia. Christ took our infirmities and bore our diseases. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“If you will, you can make me clean.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 8: 1-4)

When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And he stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection

Leprosy was considered a dreaded disease, a living death with many sweeping implications in the time of Jesus. Anyone suffering from this disease was considered unclean and untouchable and thus an outcast. A leper had to wear torn clothes, let the hair of his head remain disheveled, and cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean’ (Lev 13:45). A leper was a dead man walking, shorn of all human dignity and was denied even a human touch. Anyone who touched a leper became unclean. However, the leper in today’s gospel dared to call out to Jesus crying not ‘unclean, unclean’ but he touching Jesus’ heart with his ‘faith-filled’ request: “If you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus immediately touches the untouchable and, healing him completely of his illness, makes him a follower!

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