CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on January 13, 2011

Gospel reading of the day:

Mark 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

Reflection on the gospel: In the culture that Jesus occupied, leprosy was a fearful thing for both an individual and the individual’s community. The law of Moses demanded that the individual move out of normal society and proscribed contacts by unaffected persons with the affected person.

Yet in today’s gospel, Jesus touches the leper, an action that in the law of his people, made him unclean. Jesus touches the leper not merely as an action of healing but as an action of compassion: Mark tells us Jesus was “moved with pity.”

Who are the lepers in our own age? Who are we prescribed from touching? I think if we probe our memories and emotions, we will find various classes of people we consider untouchable. Perhaps they are homeless people whose clothes smell of urine. Perhaps they are people with HIV. Perhaps they are persons who occupy a particular rung in the ladder of social classes. Perhaps they are gay men or lesbians. Perhaps they are members of other groups of minority persons, defined racially or ethnically.

Whoever they are, whatever repels us about them, if we are to imitate Christ, we are to seek them out and touch them. Touch them, yes, metaphorically, but even touch them, yes, if it is appropriate, physically. It is in human touch that we manifest many forms of compassion, and if the metaphorical dimensions of touch are included, it is in human touch that we manifest every form of compassion.

Our journey to be like Jesus is to move beyond the confines of our proscriptions about who is touchable and who is untouchable to embrace every person with compassion and acceptance. Our journey to be like Jesus is to touch the leper God places today in our path.

Saint of the day: Hilary was born in 315 at Poitiers, France of wealthy polytheistic, pagan nobility. His early life was uneventful as he married, had children (including Saint Abra), and studied on his own. Through his studies he came to believe in salvation through good works, and then monotheism. As he studied the Bible for the first time, he literally read himself into the faith and was converted by the end of the New Testament. Hilary lived the faith so well he was made bishop of Poitiers from 353 to 368. Hilary opposed the emperor’s attempt to run Church matters, and was exiled; he used the time to write works explaining the faith. His teaching and writings converted many, and in an attempt to reduce his notoriety, he was returned to the small town of Poitiers where his enemies hoped he would fade into obscurity. His writings continued to convert pagans. He introduced Eastern theology to the Western Church. He fought Arianism with the help of Saint Viventius. He died in 368 of natural causes.

Spiritual reading: {God speaking to Symeon the New Theologian in a vision:} … according to the nature which is Mine, I am altogether invisible, uncircumscribed, formless, intangible, impalpable, immoveable, ever-moving, filling all things while altogether nowhere at all, not in you, not in any of the angels or prophets who have approached Me of old or who now draw near, by whom I have never been seen at all, nor am seen now. (On the Mystical Life by Symeon the New Theologian)

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