Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ritual Laws in Leviticus

Scripture – Luke 8:43-44
And a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years and could not be healed by any one, came up behind him, and touched the fringe of his garment; and immediately her flow of blood ceased.

Some atheists try to mock our faith by quoting Leviticus.
Some of their claims include “why can’t I own a slave or sell my daughter or eat shellfish” in order to suggest that we can pick and choose what in the Bible we should abide by.

Touching lepers, corpses and menstruating women, especially, was thought to defile a person and make that person, too, ritually unclean. More generally, the Jews, especially the Pharisees, believed that they were defiled by any contact at all with a broad category of people defined as "sinners."

To explain what Jesus is doing in these healings of word and touch, Matthew employs a formula citation from Isaiah (see Matthew 8:17; Isaiah 53:4).
Source: Reading the Old Testament in the New- The Gospel of Matthew – lesson extract –

I recently came across an audio sermon which dealt with this topic quite well
Fr Barron elaborates on the event in Luke 8:43-44 or Matthew 9:20-22, as follows.

Everything they expected was reversed.
Jesus didn’t become unclean, she became clean

By healing her physically, Jesus effectively restores her to full participation in the community.

He is healing her at every possible level.

What is more important?
Jesus thereby implicitly puts an end to the ritual code of the Book of Leviticus.

By reversing the expectation of Leviticus that He be unclean, He is implying the identity of the New Israel (which is the Church) would not be brought about through ritual behaviours but by precisely through contact with Him.

Ancient Israel believed that by following the prescriptions in the Book of Leviticus and many others they would discover who they were.

Jesus is saying it is not in relation to the Book of Leviticus, it is in relation to Me that you will know who you are.

Source: Fr Robert Barron - Word on Fire audio sermon July 2012

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