Does the compassionate life not demand that we be present to those who suffer; does it not require that we enter into solidarity with the poor, oppressed, and downtrodden; does it not motivate us both to move into the thick of life and to experience the hardships of existence in solidarity with the outcasts? - Henri Nouwen, Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life
We have some amazing readings to hear proclaimed this coming weekend, 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
In our first reading, Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46, we hear the Levitical law stating that the leper shall dwell apart. There is no ambiguity here!
In our second reading, 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1 St. Paul reminds us to offend no one and to do all for the glory of God. There is no ambiguity here either as we are directed to be “imiators of me, as I am of Christ.”
Then the Gospel, Mark 1:40-45 brings it all together for us…
Jesus, who was always true to the Law radically reinterprets is by healing the leper. Once healed, the leper is no longer an outcast. As Catholic Christians we are compelled to hear, read and understand Scripture as more than literal words, more than just the lines of a news report.
What we are told today is that we must learn to welcome all into our hearts, those we fear, those we despise, those we cannot forgive. And that includes the hardened parts of ourselves that we reject as well.
This is the hard work and rewarding joy of living the Gospel. If we can but do it – I know I struggle, what about you?