10 Feb 2018

This Week Letter – February 11, 2018

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Dear Parishioners and Friends,


Sometimes in life, it’s hard for us to be accepted by others whether at school or in the workplace. Those who are not accepted are often subjected to ridicule, gossip, slander and unpleasant incidents.

Rejected and ridiculed, they often live under stress, under depression, and even resort to suicide. The life of persons rejected by their social community becomes a real spiritual hell.

Today’s first reading treats of disease – in this case leprosy. All the afflicted ones had to follow strict rules specifying what they must do. “The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent and his head bare, and shall muffle his beard; he shall cry out, “Unclean, unclean!”   (Lv 13, 45).

Nowadays, more and more often, we deal with another variation of this disease: social leprosy. It is an asymptomatic disease, but for those afflicted, it is severe. The “sick”, as in the case of true lepers, are isolated from others and, in addition, are treated as an unwanted evil, unnecessary and useless. Although they may have much good advice, news or information to share, they are neither seen nor heard. Their dignity is trampled, and they are even stabbed with psychological daggers. These “sick”, for the most part, are sensitive people with a rich interior life, but to some others they appear unfashionable and too devout and thus are sentenced to misunderstanding, to ridicule. Ostracized, they continue to create, think, work, yearning to be helpful and needed.  And even for this they are derided.

While listening to the readings and the Gospel, let us search our surroundings with our mind’s eyes.  Are there others nearby who have been pushed aside like lepers either by us individually or by our associates? Or are we unable to admit that there are “others”? As Christians, we are called to love each other and this means finding understanding for those whom we call “different”. St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians says, “Avoid giving offense, whether to Jews or Greeks or the Church of God.” (1Cor 1O, 32).  We can interpret this call as our charge to accept the people whom we have rejected for various reasons.

Christ perfectly understood this illness as well as its significance among the rejected, the misunderstood, because He shared their experience many times. However, as the Son of God, He could help those in need. To those seeking healing He showed mercy saying these words, “I do will it. Be made clean!” (Mk 1, 41b). Let us not reject anyone who, according to our norms, is a little different; like Christ, let us show mercy saying, “Friend, come with us; stay with us; be happy and have fun with us.” In so doing, we will be true followers of Christ.

Jesus Christ, grant us an ever deeper love for others; teach us how to love others as You love each of us.

God bless!