Christ and the Doctors,
Wedding at Cana, Healing of the Leper, Ivory carving from Metz, France, Probably conceived as a book cover, 9th century, © Bode Museum, Berlin


Christ and the Doctors,
Wedding at Cana, Healing of the Leper, Ivory carving from Metz, France, Probably conceived as a book cover, 9th century, © Bode Museum, Berlin


Gospel of 13 January 2022

The leprosy left him at once and he was cured

Mark 1:40-45

A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees: ‘If you want to’ he said ‘you can cure me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!’ he said. ‘Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once and he was cured. Jesus immediately sent him away and sternly ordered him, ‘Mind you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your healing prescribed by Moses as evidence of your recovery.’ The man went away, but then started talking about it freely and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived. Even so, people from all around would come to him.

Reflection on the Ivory Plaque

This 9th-century ivory plaque was used as a devotional book cover for an illuminated manuscript. From the 9th till the 13th century, such exquisite ivory carvings were produced all over Europe, often in monasteries and ecclesiastical or royal courts. Used for liturgical purposes, these low relief carvings appeared on book covers, reliquary caskets and religious icons. Our plaque depicts three scenes from the life of Christ: Christ and the Doctors, the Wedding at Cana and the Healing of the Leper, the last one relating to the Gospel reading of today. The leper's bare skin is incised with pin-head sized dots conveying his illness. 

Today’s reading shows the compassion Jesus had for the marginalised in society, the ill, the wounded, the fallen. Jesus healed the leper by touch, and so does God. Through the humanity of Jesus, He reaches out His hand every day to touch us as well. There is no clearer display of this than in the sacramental life of the Church: absolution in the confessional heals us; holy communion re-aligns our souls to God, etc… And we get healed by God, in order that we can help heal others too. The outstretched hand of Jesus works through us, so that we ourselves can be used as instruments of that divine touch for others.

We are called to be reaching out with love and compassion to the lonely and isolated in society, such as the homeless around us. Maybe today is a good day to reach out especially to them, during these cold Winter days. Or we can even think of people who don’t have the disease of leprosy, but who are the ‘untouchables’ of today… people whom no one wants to befriend or even talk to. We all know people like that. Today’s reading prompts us to reach out exactly to these people… the new modern day ‘untouchables’ around us...

Share this Gospel Reading

Did you like this Gospel reading and art reflection?

Join in the discussion about this artwork & Gospel reading

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Readings related to Mark 1:40-45

6 December 2020

Mark 1:1-8

John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness

13 January 2021

Mark 1:29-39

Jesus went off to a lonely place and prayed

7 February 2021

Mark 1:29-39

Jesus cast out devils, cured, preached, prayed...

12 January 2021

Mark 1:21-28

Jesus taught with Authority

Join our community

In addition to receiving our Daily Gospel Reading and Art Reflection, signing up for a free membership allows you to: 

The mission of Christian Art is to offer a daily Gospel Reading paired with a related work of art and a short reflection. Our goal is to help people grow closer to God through the magnificent pairing of art and the Christian faith.


Join over 40,000 people who receive our daily Gospel Reading and Art Reflection

Skip to content