Homily February 15, 2015 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Measles, Ebola, these would be the leprosy of our time. Like ancient times, we still use quarantine, exclusion, isolation to protect the population at large. When modern medicine identifies a threat even now, sometimes their solution is one of those choices when they don’t have answers. It seems so hard that when a person in such need is forced into a situation foreign to him, In ancient times right up to Jesus’ time, skin disease, sores visible scabs were reasons of concern and meant a person was put out of the community, forced to fend for themselves usually out in the wilderness totally removed from their loved ones. Certainly there is nothing normal for a person to be forced to live outside of their community and away from family and friends. Women and men seek friendship and community to live life in a normal way. In a time of sickness and need, it seems cruel to exclude them from the care and love they have worked to build up all their lives. In the case of leprosy, there was a distance required and absolutely no contact was allowed.
If we think back the past few weeks, we saw Jesus after his baptism called his first apostles and went to the synagogue and even to Peter and Andrew’s home. But we see the crowds and their expectations of Jesus as miracle worker forced him to move on from Peter’s to the next town and environs to preach and deliver his message. His healing and curing was something added to that ministry from His compassion at his very core. It drove him to reach out to those in need of healing. As time went on, he was outside the towns and villages. He desired to be heard, to preach God’s word, not to be a person idolized or held up to popularity. Also we see, that he was looking not just to the towns, but to everybody, even those who had been cast out because of illness or what ever. He identified with those who would listen, who would believe. Those who seek God are on a journey seeking him and realize it is a journey. Some, like the priests and elders in Jerusalem, thought they had all the answers and were so satisfied that they were secure. Jesus came for those not so sure, those seeking God, those cast out, anyone who would hear his word. The sick, the desperate stirred up his compassion leading to their healing and inclusion once again. Our mission today is to teach and preach, to find those who hear but may have somehow been excluded or pushed away from community or family or friends. Christ is living, and it is through you and me and how we speak and act.