To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
Lepers and leprosy are not common is our world today. Maybe we have heard about Father Damien the Leper who lived and cared for the lepers in Hawaii some 100 years ago. And today leprosy, Hansen Disease, is very treatable.
It is not my intent to talk in length about this, but it is interesting to read about leprosy and then see some of the parallels that exist with the present Coronavirus our world is coping with.
Suffice it to say that in the time of Jesus, leprosy was a contagious infection and for the health of the community, the afflicted persons were excluded from the Community. When they walked the streets and come upon people they called out, “unclean, unclean, unclean.”
Simply stated, lepers were outcasts, people who had to keep their distance from others, at least 6 feet or more!
But as we hear in the Scriptures today, here comes Jesus. He knows the rules. He knows the reasoning of his time regarding lepers… YET, Jesus not only cures the leper, He TOUCHES him!
What did Jesus want for this man, this leper? Healing, yes, but also acceptance, to be part of the community.
What was the message Jesus was sending with his actions? Jesus was saying:
- Before God, no one is leper, no one is an outcast.
- Before God, we are ALL loved, no more, no less than anyone else.
- Before God, we ALL belong!
- Before God, we are ALL sons and daughters of God. All of us are made in the image and likeness of God.
Today our Scriptures ask something of us… to avoid attitudes and perceptions that can reduce others to lepers, to outcasts, to having nothing to offer, to seeing others as not fitting in for any number of reasons, due to their politics, religion, race, gender or whatever might seem to be a threat to us…
In truth, Jesus who heals lepers, also come to heal us.
Jesus reminds all of us that before His Father and Our Father, before God: no one is a leper, no one is beyond God’s love, mercy and compassion, we are family and we are meant to reach out to one another, embrace one another, as sons and daughters for God today and every day.