February 12, 2012 Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany
FIRST READING: 2 Kings 5:1-14
Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army. The LORD had helped him and his troops defeat their enemies, so the king of Syria respected Naaman very much. Naaman was a brave soldier, but he had leprosy.
2One day while the Syrian troops were raiding Israel, they captured a girl, and she became a servant of Naaman’s wife. 3Some time later the girl said, “If your husband Naaman would go to the prophet in Samaria, he would be cured of his leprosy.”
4When Naaman told the king what the girl had said, 5the king replied, “Go ahead! I will give you a letter to take to the king of Israel.”
Naaman left and took along seven hundred fifty pounds of silver, one hundred fifty pounds of gold, and ten new outfits. 6He also carried the letter to the king of Israel. It said, “I am sending my servant Naaman to you. Would you cure him of his leprosy?”
7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in fear and shouted, “That Syrian king believes I can cure this man of leprosy! Does he think I’m God with power over life and death? He must be trying to pick a fight with me.”
8As soon as Elisha the prophet heard what had happened, he sent the Israelite king this message: “Why are you so afraid? Send the man to me, so that he will know there is a prophet in Israel.”
9Naaman left with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10Elisha sent someone outside to say to him, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then you’ll be completely cured.”
11But Naaman stormed off, grumbling, “Why couldn’t he come out and talk to me? I thought for sure he would stand in front of me and pray to the LORD his God, then wave his hand over my skin and cure me. 12What about the Abana Riverc or the Pharpar River? Those rivers in Damascus are just as good as any river in Israel. I could have washed in them and been cured.
13His servants went over to him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. So why don’t you do what he said? Go wash and be cured.”
14Naaman walked down to the Jordan; he waded out into the water and stooped down in it seven times, just as Elisha had told him. Right away, he was cured, and his skin became as smooth as a child’s.
PSALMODY: Psalm 30
1I will praise you, LORD!
You saved me from the grave
and kept my enemies from celebrating my death.
2I prayed to you, LORD God, and you healed me,
3saving me from death and the grave.
4Your faithful people, LORD, will praise you with songs
and honor your holy name.
5Your anger lasts a little while,
but your kindness lasts for a lifetime.
At night we may cry,
but when morning comes we will celebrate.
6I was carefree and thought, “I’ll never be shaken!”
7You, LORD, were my friend,
and you made me strong as a mighty mountain.
But when you hid your face, I was crushed.
8I prayed to you, LORD, and in my prayer I said,
9“What good will it do you if I am in the grave?
Once I have turned to dust,
how can I praise you or tell how loyal you are?
10Have pity, LORD! Help!”
11You have turned my sorrow into joyful dancing.
No longer am I sad and wearing sackcloth.
12I thank you from my heart, and I will never stop
singing your praises, my LORD and my God.
SECOND READING: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
24You know that many runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So run to win! 25Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever. 26I don’t run without a goal. And I don’t box by beating my fists in the air. 27I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won’t lose out after telling the good news to others.
GOSPEL: Mark 1:40-45
40A man with leprosy came to Jesus and knelt down. He begged, “You have the power to make me well, if only you wanted to.”
41Jesus felt sorry for the man. So he put his hand on him and said, “I want to! Now you are well.” 42At once the man’s leprosy disappeared, and he was well.
43After Jesus strictly warned the man, he sent him on his way. 44He said, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Just go and show the priest that you are well. Then take a gift to the temple as Moses commanded, and everyone will know that you have been healed.”
45The man talked about it so much and told so many people, that Jesus could no longer go openly into a town. He had to stay away from the towns, but people still came to him from everywhere.