Friday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

“Then Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”” (Matthew 8:4.)

Saint Cyril of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“What then was the gift that was to be brought by the leper according to the law? “Two small birds,” one of which the priest killed “over running water.” Taking “cedar wood and broken scarlet and hyssop” and the living bird, he dipped them “in the blood of the slain bird, over running water.” He anointed the right ear, hand and foot of the leper who was cleansed. He sent the living bird outside the city, “into the open field.” Observe, therefore, how perfectly Christ depicts these things for us. By the living bird you may understand the living, heavenly Word. By the blood of the slain bird, you should understand the blood of our suffering Lord, for whom we say that he suffered “in the flesh,” rather than “in his own body.” The cedar is a wood not prone to rot. The incorruptible flesh, the body of Christ, “did not see corruption.” Hyssop symbolizes the effervescence, activity and power of the Spirit. Scarlet intends the confession of the covenant made with blood. The running water signifies the life-creating gift of baptism. Through this baptism, whoever has become a leper through sin may be cleansed. The sending of the living bird outside of the city teaches us to abandon this world, as did Christ in his ascension into heaven. Having thus come into the presence of God the Father, he makes intercession for all of us, and we therefore shall be cleansed. By the anointing of the leper’s right ear, hand and foot, we are taught that we must be, in contemplation and in action and in our way of life, in touch with divine things.” (Fragment 93)

Grant, O Lord,
that we may always revere
and love Your holy name,
for You never deprive of Your guidance
those You set firm
on the foundation of Your love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen