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

The Kerygma: What It Is and Why It Matters, Part I
By Dr. Chris Burgwald
A Proclamation of Salvation Introduction Over the last several decades, theologians who focus on evangelization in general, and the moment of catechesis within it in particular, have given considerable thought and attention to the topic of the kerygma, and rightly so. The kerygma can be aptly understood to be the summary of the Gospel; and, as... Read more
El kerigma: Lo que es y porqué importa, Parte I
By Dr. Chris Burgwald
Free Introducción Agnolo Gaddi's Mercy Seat Trinity paintingDurante las últimas décadas, los teólogos que enfocan la evangelización en general, y en particular, al momento de la catequesis – que es una parte de la evangelización- han puesto esfuerzos considerables de pensamiento y atención al tema del kerigma, y con justa razón. El kerigma puede... Read more
RCIA & Adult Faith Formation: Mystagogy that Unveils the Mystery of the Church
By Dr. Christine Myers
It happens more than we like to admit: after a joy-filled Easter Vigil, many new Catholics skip out on the post-baptismal catechesis sessions. Our best plans for a riveting exploration of the rich theological and historical meaning of the sacred signs of our faith serve only a few. Like other RCIA directors, this trend in my own parish has given... 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