'Tis the Optional Memorial of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church (died 64), martyred in the reign of the emperor Nero: Martyrs-link ūnus, Martyrs-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.
Commentary: Wayback Machine.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Bertrand of Le Mans, Bishop (circa 553-623, A.K.A. Bertechramnus): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.
Scripture of the Day
The Book of Genesis, chapter seventeen, verses one, nine, ten, & fifteen thru twenty-two;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-eight, verses one & two, three, & four & five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eight, verses one thru four.
Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel today, we see Jesus healing a leper. The man who knelt before Jesus and begged for a cure was not simply concerned about his medical condition; he was an Israelite in exile from the temple—and hence he was a very apt symbol of the general condition of scattered, exiled, wandering Israel. In curing him, Jesus was, symbolically speaking, gathering the tribes and bringing them back to the worship of the true God.Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church
That's why he tells the man, "Go show yourself to the priest." In other words, go back to the temple from which you've been away for so long. The leper here stands, not so much for the socially ostracized, but for the one who has wandered away from right worship, the one who is no longer able or willing to worship the true God.
What's so important about worship? To worship is to order the whole of your life toward the living God, and in doing so, to become interiorly and exteriorly rightly ordered. To worship is to signal to yourself what your life is finally about. It's nothing that God needs, but it is very much something that we need.
The Letter to the Romans, chapter eight, verses thirty-one(b) thru thirty-nine;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-four, verse seven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-four, verses four thru thirteen.