Posts Tagged ‘ John Paul II ’

Christ on Sorok

The Daily Selectionary

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Today’s Readings:

Daily Office Readings: AM Psalm 18:1-20; PM Psalm 18:21-50   
Isa. 41:17-29; Eph. 2:11-22; Mark 2:1-12 

Eucharistic Readings: Heb. 3:1-14
Psalm 95:6-11; Mark 1:40-45


Christ on Sorok

Christopher Hodge


Mark 1:40-45

40 And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

                One of my fondest memories of Pope John Paul II is when he visited the leper colony on Sorok Island, Korea in 1984.  I remember as a child hearing the story in Mark’s Gospel about the leper that Jesus had healed.  I heard that people with Leprosy were horrible creatures who were disgustingly wrought with filth.  They were considered unclean and no one could be around them.  In my Sunday School class when I was a little boy, all I could picture in my head about Leprosy was that it was equated much with the physical looks of Chicken Pox:  bumps all over the body and a lot of bandages.  My young mind was not ready to know exactly what Leprosy really was.

                I have seen video footage and pictures of the visit from the Pope to Sorok.  The lepers were dealing with something that I never could have imagined this disease to be.  No wonder that back in the Biblical days these men, women and children were treated like worthless outcasts.  No one understood the disease.  The most everyone saw was the outward appearance of what Leprosy had done to the people’s bodies.  After I had seen that Leprosy is more than just bumps on skin, my whole perspective on the Leper stories have been drastically altered.  I saw a woman with no jaw; A little girl with no nose.  There was a boy in one picture who was even missing an eyelid.  Yes, there were the bumps – boils – that I had come to expect, but the horrific images gave my sight more than what I had come to see in my favorite horror movies.

                Pope John Paul II prayed blessings over these precious people.  He went up to them individually and placed his hand on heads, touched open and wounded hands.  The compassion in his eyes locked with the longing in theirs.  I can never feel what they were feeling because I have never dealt with anything remotely comparable.  The Pope was displaying an overflow of Christ-like love for these innocents.  When the people of Capernaum threw their lepers to the alleys and basements afraid to touch them, Jesus took their hands and healed them.

                Recently I was watching a documentary that included a snippet of the Pope’s visit that day on Sorok.  It brought me to an uneasy realization.  Would I be able to do the same?  I would like to think I would be able to.  But, really, could I get out of my own way and let the love of Christ in me show his love to his creation? 

Daily Scripture readings are taken from The Revised Common Lectionary and can be read in full at  NRSV translation of the Holy Scriptures.  Please feel free to pass along this devotion to whomever you feel may benefit from it. – © Christopher Hodge  2011   email: