A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The leper had to live in deserted places outside towns. Because of Jesus’ mercy in touching and healing the leper, he could not enter towns. Is this not a pattern in Jesus’ life? He ate with prostitutes and people opined, “They must be servicing him.” He made friends with tax collectors: “Surely, he must be corrupt like them.” Am I in touch with my own marginalization or fear of being marginalized? Do I realize how Jesus reaches out to heal me?
Pope Francis is a true “Apostle of Mercy”. He invites each of us to embrace Christ’s mercy toward us, and to show this very same mercy to others. How courageous am I in showing mercy? Can I imitate Jesus in standing with today’s outcasts— the HIV+ person, the gay, lesbian or transgender person, the undocumented worker, the street person…even if there are negative consequences, even if some might identify me with the person I reach out to?
—Fr. Terry Charlton, SJ, joined the Chicago province and now serves as assistant provincial in Eastern Africa. He is the co-founder and chaplain of St. Aloysius Gonzaga High School for AIDS orphans from the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya.
For those who suffer,
and those who cry this night,
give them repose, Lord;
a pause in their burdens.
Let there be minutes
where they experience peace,
not of man, but of angels.
Love them, Lord,
when others cannot.
Hold them, Lord,
when we fail with human arms.
Hear their prayers, and give them
the ability to hear you back,
in whatever language
they best understand. Amen
—John Bender, Archdiocese of MilwaukeePlease share the Good Word with your friends!