At 9.45am on Tuesday 9 February at the Village Hotel in upper Headingly I was vaccinated against Coronavirus.  Praise be the NHS.  The next one is April 30. After that I will be safe unless I drop dead between now and then.

In the gospel, Jesus cures a leper. Lepers were supposed to stay away from people, a lot more than 2 metres away, but this one walks right up to Jesus, falls on his knees and says “if you want to, you can cure me.” Jesus says “Of course I want to.  Be cured”.  But he tells the leper not to tell anyone, and the leper tells everyone.  As a consequence, Jesus is crowded out of the towns and villages and has to stay away from people; he sort of changes places with the leper.

Theologians talk about the messianic secret.  Jesus often told people not to tell other people he had cured them, because he didn`t want to become an early version of the NHS.  He had to be constantly trying to figure out how to tell people he was the Messiah so that they could receive him as the Messiah and not someone who could magic or miracle away all their problems.  This, of course did not happen and he was pushed out of the towns and villages onto the cross.

Whatever remains of the pandemic let`s bear it patiently as our cross, trusting cautiously in the NHS, and fully in God who suffered and died for us so that we could learn to suffer and die for each other.