Catechesis on the Miracles of Jesus: Healing of the Leper

Authored by Msgr. Paul J. Watson in Issue #33.2 of The Sower

In 1515, the artist, Mattias Grünewald, completed a work that came to be known as the Isenheim Altarpiece. It is a complicated structure of painted panels which include a vivid and rather gruesome depiction of the Crucifixion. The altarpiece was produced for the hospital chapel of St Anthony’s Monastery as Isenheim in Alsace. The hospital was dedicated to the care of patients suffering from particularly unpleasant diseases such as leprosy and St Anthony’s Fire. What is striking about the depiction of Christ is that his body bears the same sort of infirmities as those of the patients of the hospital – twisted limbs racked in agony and skin covered with marks from the scourging, which could have appeared to the patients as replicating the effects of the diseases with which they were afflicted.

The passage from Mark 1:40-45 is the account of Jesus healing a man who had been afflicted with leprosy. Apart from the physical effects of leprosy, there were further distressing aspects for a leper in Israel. The book of Leviticus (13:1-2, 44-46), the reading chosen for the Sunday on which this gospel is read, indicates that the leper is also to be socially excluded. He or she is to ‘live outside the camp’. The phrase comes from the time when those who had fled from Egypt were in the wilderness and set up camp wherever God indicated. This exclusion partially hides an even more serious exclusion. The camp was the setting also for the Tent of Meeting, the place which was the sign of God’s presence among His people, the place of worship.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Kerygmatic Catechesis and the New Directory
By Dr. James Pauley
Free The much-anticipated Directory for Catechesis is finally here! So many of us involved in the work of catechetical renewal have eagerly awaited its publication. This directory is the third of its kind, following 1971 and 1997 directories that each proposed a vision for catechesis intended to prepare Catholics to live in the modern world as well-... Read more
An Invitation to a Faithful, Dynamic Renewal of Catechesis
By Jem Sullivan
Free This article explores c hapters 1-2 of the new Directory for Catechesis. The publication of a Directory for Catechesis by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization could not have arrived at a more providential moment as the universal Church seeks a renewal of Christian faith in local churches struggling through the effects... Read more
Becoming Windows for the Light of the Living God
By Brad Bursa
This article explores chapters 3-4 of the Directory for Catechesis. O ne could liken c hapters t hree (The Catechist) and f our (The Formation of Catechists) of the new Directory for Catechesis to a meditation on windows and how they are made. Identity and Vocation of the Catechist In the early Church, those who followed the Way were often called... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now