6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. What challenging words Paul presents us with today. We see Jesus in the Gospel today reaching out to touch and heal someone with leprosy.
In the reading from Leviticus, it is clear what a dread disease leprosy was and the fear it brought. For those who were ill, it meant being outside the community, unable to participate in social activities, and being forced to call out “unclean” to prevent human contact.
Jesus responds to the faith of the person with leprosy. If you will, you can make me clean. Jesus is moved with pity and responds, giving him the gift of healing and enabling him to rejoin the community.
We are called to imitate the compassion of Jesus when we encounter those deemed “unclean” or unworthy to be in our community. We face the uncomfortable question: who do I place outside my circle? Are they those who are different, those who are below my economic status, those who are homeless or jobless or victims of abuse, or one of the many other ways we label others?
Do we hear their call to us? If you wish, you can make me clean. Can we find the courage to welcome these “lepers” into our lives?
Each Eucharist gives us the opportunity to experience who and what we are called to imitate. The liturgy of the Word opens to us the love and compassion of a God who loves all. The liturgy of the Eucharist gifts us with the experience of the touch of Christ healing us by pouring out his life for us and uniting us together in the community.
As we begin the season of Lent this week, may we use this time to grow in our ability to imitate Christ.
Let us pray:
Lord, we come to you seeking wholeness. Heal whatever in our hearts prevents us from imitating your compassionate love. Heal our community of the divisions that keep us from loving others as you love them. May we offer others our loving embrace. Amen.