Jesus Heals a Leper
The image of the homeless, the addict, the sick is one that is despised. Heads turn, look the other way and move to the other side of the street. We are called to have a new attitude toward those we encounter. A few weeks ago a women came to church, I didn’t recognize her. I asked who she was and she told me. I caught myself feeling and acting suspicious of the woman. Not knowing, I failed to really be loving and welcoming. That day in the prayers of the faithful God spoke clearly, scolded me. In the prayer there is a special petition for the mentally ill, to pray for them. It reminded me that I must and we all must be willing to help and take a persons hand. Make them feel welcome.
Jesus in healing the Leper in the Gospel, reaches out and touches the outcast, the despised, the poor, the forgotten, and the person left out on the peripheries. Jesus does much more than heal the lepers. Jesus goes against the norm, to reach out to a leper would never be done, it would make you unclean. You could catch the disease, and also become unclean and cast out. Jesus is not concerned about himself, or what could happen to him. He is concerned and moved to pity for this person and their condition. He transforms and restores the life of this suffering human being. This Justice Ministry must be the central focus of our parish ministry. Jesus’ ministry was one of Justice. The very word and context he was living in the First Century was a world and society that set the poor, those without, to work so that those with all the wealth could have move. An unjust oppressive society that subjugated by brutal oppression. This is Jesus’ context. Both the Roman Law and Religious Laws and practices were subjugating and oppressive to the sick, and outcasts.
I have spent time hearing concerns from the parish council. To the best of my ability I have addressed these concerns. I am willing to listen more and more from further concerns. Are we deeply concerned about the children and teens who are on the peripheries and creating a place of welcome for them? Are we concerned about the people dying in our streets, those on drugs, living with HIV and AIDS, struggling to live, emptying themselves in all forms of substances abuse?
How do we respond and express our concern for sick, the lonely, the helpless, those with disease? How do we extend our hands to reach out to the dejected the lost and forgotten? I say let’s focus on concerns of all as a parish to do justice, to stand and welcome the suffering, to be a parish centered on Christ and caring for others. Pope Francis reminded us in his first sermon to priests. We are called to stop, focus, and seek to reach out. Go beyond our own issues, problems, and start reaching out to others. To often we navel gaze at what we want and think and are not capable of seeking out to touch others. Let’s start reaching out beyond our concerns and touch lives that are in the shadows, on the peripheries.
How can we deepen our evolvement in justice ?
No human being is a problem. Let’s reach out and touch the lives of all !