Gospel Reflection for the 6th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B – February 11th 2018
The outcast often tells us a lot about ourselves. The leper in Jesus’ time was shunned for many reasons: health and reputation. While it is sensible not to go where there can be contagion, we don’t have the right to cast the person out. Apart from physical outcasts, we treat many in our society like that.
The outcast isn’t thought of as a person as good in themselves as anyone. Groups in localities and schools avoid certain people. For Jesus the leper is the representative of the one looked on as a sinner and avoided and condemned.
Our direct provision centres for no reasonable cause cast thousands of people out for years at a time, simply because they are a different race, with different problems to ourselves. Our prejudice to the foreigner blocks us from seeing everyone as a child of God. In this year of the family, we try to believe more and more that we are all part of God’s family. Our hubs for the homeless can fool us into thinking we are doing a lasting solution for them and we have convinced ourselves that the homeless do not need a house or apartment like everyone else. Jesus’ point of view is different: all are welcomed and loved as children of God.
So he touched the leper, a gesture welcomed by them but condemned by many religious people of his time.
Look and see: who is outcast as I walk our streets or countryside? What can I do?
Lord, help me see and treat others as your brother and sister, caring for others as you care.
Donal Neary SJ
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Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger
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