Sacred Heart Church

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 11, 2024


Mark 1:40-45

Recently I had a skin rash, and it was awful. (Please don’t tell anyone.) I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t handle it well. Complaining, whining, begging for sympathy, and crying were my responses to the merciless itching and burning. In the aftermath, a silver lining emerged. I feel a new heartfelt sympathy for all those vexed with chronic skin problems. If you’ve ever had a seemingly unending skin problem, you know how that sympathy flows up from deep inside.

This gut-level compassion is something like what the Gospel describes in Jesus when the sore-covered leper says, “If you will it, you can make me clean.” At this, just before the healing, Jesus was “moved with com-passion.” The Greek word used here is strong and earthy, closer to “his bowels and guts trembled with the deepest emotions of sadness, pity, and love.” In Jesus, God heals our infirmities not from a divine distance but by learning what it feels like to be us. He acquires first-hand experience of what it costs us to be afflicted and still be faithful to God. He sympathizes with the burning, itching, and blistering of human existence in the deepest, first-hand way. To discover that is to touch Jesus’ heart.

What in your life, right now, is breaking out like diseased skin? What is getting worse the more you try to soothe it? Perhaps only you feel it. Or maybe it’s exposed to all. A bad habit, broken relationship, loneliness, fear of failure, self-hatred? Name it, and then find a way to bring it confidently to Jesus who will feel what we are feeling, and thereby heal us.—
- Father John Muir


“The greatest gift of God, I would think, is the gift of life. The greatest sin of humans, it would seem, would be to return the gift ungratefully and unopened".
- Fr. John Powell



Our readings today prepare us for the penitential season of Lent that we are about to enter. They call us to consider what our Lenten journey might be like – an opportunity to be healed and cleansed on our journey as disciples of Christ. Our First Reading and our Gospel are tied closely together. In the book of Leviticus, the Lord tells Moses and Aaron in regard to a person with leprosy that “As long as the sore is on him, he shall declare himself unclean… He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp.”

Let us approach this holy season of Lent like the leper. We are filled with sores and wounds – namely, our sins. By our faults, we have dis-tanced ourselves from God and His community. The leper reminds us Who to go to so that we might be healed. Let us approach the Lord this season on our knees asking for forgiveness and healing from our of-fenses, saying, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” There is no doubt that, if we have a contrite heart, Jesus will stretch out His hand in forgiveness and His mercy will touch our lives.

Let us approach this holy season of Lent as an opportunity to be healed and cleansed. As we prepare for Ash Wednesday this week, reflect on the sores and wounds that we can bring to the Lord during this season. He is ready to stretch out His hand to heal us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And let us consider what we can do to offer acts of reparation so that we might be purified and one day partake in the resurrection of Christ.

A Family Perspective

To experience the peace which Christ promises we must shed our grudges, jealousy and feelings of being misunderstood, unappreciated or ignored. Peace and anger don’t mix. Today’s gospel warns, if you want peace in your heart and home, get rid of your anger. Anger is too costly
- Bud Ozar

Prayer Requests

Mark Blackie, Rod Baronner, Dan Bauer, Dave Bauer, Damian Branas, Vince Bumann, Jack Chilcote, Harry Chirdon, Karen Claar, Carole Clemens, Brandon Conaway, Shirley Conlon, Denise Conrad, James Conrad, Kathy Corl, William Costlow, Bob Decker, Tim Dodson, Joan Donnelly, Matt Dorman, Amelia Doughurty, Lois Duncan, Thomas Duncan, Sam Dunio, Ashley Eagen, Ruth Ann Frederick, Herman Frederick, Elsie Frye, Phyllis Hartman, Phyllis Hauser, Ralph Hildebrand, Lucy Horton, Austin Judy, Lynn Judy, Kenny Anthony Keagy, Carol King, John Kleine, Sue Koehle, Ruth Lamca, Cyndi Lansberry, John Leshene, Janet Lego, Beth Lloyd, Charles McGrain, Bev Mueller, Bonnie Neal, Jessica Neff, Lee Neff, Kevin O'Rourke, Gail Pearson, Sarah Rihnovich, Patti Robinson, Laura Snyder, Cheryl Swain, Margo Wascher.

If you would like to add a sick or hospitalized person to our prayer list or re-add a person, please call the rectory office, at 943-8553. Parishioners of Saint Mary are encouraged and welcome to participate. Remember, you must have the permission of the ill person/family to publish their name.



Sacred Heart Parish | 511 20th Street | Altoona, PA 16602 | (814) 943-8553
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