Monthly Archives: February 2015
During the time of Jesus, leprosy was considered a more serious disease than it is today. Attached to it was a social and religious stigma. A leper was treated like an outcast and expelled from his family and community because of the contagious nature of the sickness. And to prevent people from getting infected, contact between the leper and a healthy person was avoided. The situation was worst then because there was no known cure for the disease. So the person having leprosy then was as good as a ‘’living dead’’ person. He or she was going to live with it and remained isolated from the community for the rest of his or her life. It was really bad then, the situation of the leper.
We can now understand what Jesus did by curing the leper. It was not just curing him of the disease, but it was more of giving him back his life after the cure. He was welcomed back into his family and community again. However, it was a dangerous risk taken by Jesus and the leper. The leper going to where healthy people were staying was a big risk. They would have stoned him to dead thinking he was trying to infect them with the disease. The leper was desperate to be cured and come back to full life again. It is not good to be isolated from your family and community. So as soon as he saw the opportunity to get out of his situation, he grasped it immediately. He did not care whether he would be killed in the process. After all, he was as good as dead in his condition. Therefore, he took the risk to see if he could get back to normal life and be with the people.
Jesus on his own part also took the risk of not only welcoming the leper, but also of touching him. Jesus could have cured the man without touching him. But he did not, rather he touched the man. By so doing, he risked being infected by the disease and becoming unclean too. That was against the rules as handed down to them by Moses. That must have angered the Jewish authority. Jesus should have been in trouble, but maybe because it was a miracle and the people did nothing about it. However, this demonstrated to us how Jesus is ready to go to any extent to set us free from our suffering and bondage. All through his ministry on earth, he sometimes went contrary to the regulations in order to do good things, for instance, the healing on a Sabbath day. He would always identify with the sufferings of people. For this reason he was accused and eventually that led to his crucifixion.
Our sins and past mistakes are like leprosy that have made us unclean, isolated and separated us from Jesus and his community. Jesus is ready at any time to take the risk to cure us of any disease, make us clean, and provide our needs. He said we should come to him, all who labor and are over burden in life and he will give us rest. But are we ready to take the risk like the leper to come to Jesus? Many people are ashamed of their past mistakes and they do not want to take the risk of coming to Jesus and his community for help. Some people have isolated themselves from people because of some bad situation in their lives.We hear of people committing suicide. It is because they are afraid to take the risk of coming to Jesus and his community for help.
The sacraments of the church are channels of his grace and healing to us. The ministries such as St. Vincent de Paul, catholic charities, ACTS and many other ministries have been doing great jobs in helping those with material and spiritual needs. Please, do not be afraid or shy. Come to Jesus and he will surely give you rest from your sufferings. Please do not die in silence while Jesus and his community are ready to take the risk to help you in your situation. Please do not be scared to take the risk. Come to Jesus, he will cure from your leprosy and slavery to the evil.
After receiving healing from him share with others and invite them to come and receive their healing from him too. By virtue of our baptism, we have been called to invite others to come and experience the healing power of God. Therefore, let us extent our kindness and love to those who are orphans, widows, sick, elderly, addicted to substances, divorce and so on to experience God’s healing through us.
THE SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
Since the beginning of the season of ordinary time, we have been reflecting on God’s call to various people such as Samuel, 12 Apostles, 72 disciples and Prophet Jonah. We have also reflected on the fact that by virtue of our baptism, we too, have been called to reform our lives and follow the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, we are encouraged to hear this call from Jesus who has authority from God the father. We see, in the readings of today, how Jesus demonstrated this power in teaching and casting out demons. The first reading helps us to establish the source of his authority. In this reading Moses said, ‘’The Lord God will raise up a prophet like me; you shall listen to him.’’ And the gospel said, ‘’He spoke with authority and not like the Scribes.’’ This means Jesus came and fulfilled this prophecy of Moses and his authority and teachings were different from those of the Scribes and Pharisees. The teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees were full of contradictions, selfishness, and pride. They were not humble and were not able to address the people’s problems. They were self-centered in their teachings and deeds.
The call today is to listen to Jesus and follow his footsteps. He speaks the truth with authority from God without contradiction. However, most times, people do not want to hear the truth because it is bitter. Sometimes we do not like authority because we perceive it to be something that denies us our freedom and rights. We prefer what makes us feel good instead of what will question our words and deeds.
There are very many contradictory teachings today in our society such as: pro-choice, same sex marriage, co-habitation without commitment or responsibility, divorce and individualism. Today people do not like the authority of the church because of her teachings on these issues. We decide and do what we want in the name of freedom and rights. Even children want to be allowed to do what they like. Even when you know for sure that, that thing they want to do is not good for them; they will still want to be left alone to do it. When you tell them to do otherwise, they will say you are mean to them.
My brothers and sisters, we need guidance that comes from God to be truly happy in this life. The teaching of God is the truth that can guarantee such happiness. ‘’Our hearts are restless until they find rest in the Lord’’ (St. Augustine). Let us not be like the Jewish authority that did not recognized the power of Jesus because of their pride. Rather, let us be like the ordinary people that recognized his power because of their humility. Pride makes us not to see the power of God in our lives but humility does. It is said that pride comes before the fall of a person. So watch it.
Jesus said, ‘’I thank you father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and revealed them to mere children’’ (Mt 11:25). This means those who claim to be intelligent according to worldly standard are blind to see the power of God in the world, but those who are humble like mere children are able to see and benefit from his power.
Regardless of whom we are, our intelligence, our wealth, and our position in the society, we must be humble and be like mere children. Only then we can recognize his power in the church; because he promised to be with the church until the end of time (Mt. 28:20). Those who fail to humble themselves, but prefer to be proud, will question the authority and teaching of the church as the Scribes and Pharisees did. But those that are humble like mere children before God will surely experience him in their lives and be truly happy. True happiness comes from being under the authority of God our creator.