Leprosy is a very serious public health concern and shows up regularly in scripture. Leprosy is extremely contagious, causing great concern for the public health. Although we do not encounter leprosy in our world today, we do encounter a spiritual leprosy.
Leprosy is a disease that came about because of rancorous dissent against God’s authority. Interestingly, part of the rite of purification is to submit to the authority of the priests of the temple, which is why, when Jesus healed the lepers in the Gospel, he merely says, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”
For the Israelites, this separation was especially grievous because it meant they could not participate in community worship. Having this skin disease cut the person off from God. It’s easy to see how the Israelites connected this physical disease with spiritual problems. Of course, we know they were wrong to assume that physical ailments were the result of spiritual missteps. But there IS an analogy here the Church wants us to see. Our sin is like a skin disease. Not just because it is gross. Not just because it makes us unclean. But because it forces us to be separate from the community. Sin isolates us. Not necessarily in ways as obvious as leprosy. But still in a very real way.
Join Jesse Spanogle and Father Andy as they discuss spiritual leprosy and how to combat this in our lives today.