Reflection for Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

How many times have we been treated as if we had leprosy? How many times have we treated others as if they had leprosy? There are so many circumstances and situations in life where we indeed have been pushed out – pushed away –  treated almost as if we were not even worth our human dignity. Not only have there been times when we feel that we have been treated this way, there are other times when we have treated others the same way.
         Did you ever get into one of those ” knock down, drag out ” fights? The type that just seems to get worse the longer that you argue with someone. At the end of the argument, was there a break in a relationship? How about a grudge? Indeed, perhaps the grudge and the break in relationship continued on for many years. Did you feel like a leper? How about the other person?
         Have you ever been discriminated against because of gender, age, race, or faith belief? Perhaps the discrimination came when seeking employment. Perhaps the discrimination came when seeking housing. Or perhaps the discrimination came when trying to join a particular organization or friendship circle.
     Experiences like these can help us begin to appreciate the extreme hurt and disgrace that the lepers of Old Testament times must have felt. Put yourselves. In their shoes for one moment. How would it feel to go to Aaron, and have him declare that you were indeed leprous and unclean? How would it feel to be placed in isolation, away from family and friends? How would your Spirit feel it, when walking through the streets of the city, you had to shout out ” unclean, unclean?”
        Now imagine, for a moment, that leprosy was on the “inside.” Sin causes inner leprosy. Yet,  because for the most part sin is well hidden by our pride, it is very easy to walk through our daily life without shouting out that we are indeed ” unclean.” The leprosy of sin and the manipulation of our pride sometimes even makes it difficult to go to Jesus through the Sacrament of reconciliation. Difficult to receive his forgiveness so that we might once again be made clean.
         The compassion of Jesus is very evident in today’s gospel. When the leper approaches Jesus in order to receive healing. Jesus ” will it” – and he cures the leper. Jesus  has that same type of compassion for us. No matter if our leprosy is sin, grudges, arguments, or discrimination, Jesus ” wills ” that we be cured from it. All we have to do is ask with humility and a contrite spirit. The compassion of Jesus “wills ” that we, as individuals, be healthy, whole, and holy.
       As we reflect on these readings during the coming week, especially when we prepare to enter the season of Lent,  let us take the time to recognize what our own leprosy is. Then let us make it our resolve to seek the compassion of Christ through the grace of the Sacraments, and to strive to more fully imitate Christ in our daily living.
      May God bless you all,
      Fr. Dominic
      Your brother in Christ