Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (José Antonio Pagola)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year BLeave a Comment

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God welcomes the “unclean”

A leper unexpectedly comes to Jesus. According to the Law, he cannot come into contact with anyone. He is “unclean” and has to live isolated. He cannot enter the Temple either. How can God possibly welcome into his presence a being so repugnant? His fate is to live excluded. The Law has so determined it.

In spite of everything, this hopeless leper dares to challenge all the norms. He knows the is something wrong. That is why he kneels down. He does not dare to speak with Jesus face to face. He addresses to him this plea from the ground: If you wish, you can make me clean. He knows Jesus can cure him, but would he want to cleanse him? Would Jesus dare to take him out of the isolation he has been subjected to in God’s name?

The emotion that the leper’s nearness produces in Jesus is amazing. He is not horrified nor does he draw back. In the face of this poor man’s situation, he is moved with pity from the depths of his heart. His tenderness overflows. Living moved only by God’s compassion for his helpless and despised sons and daughters, how can Jesus not possibly want to cleanse him?

Without hesitation, he stretches out his hand toward that man and touches his skin, which is despised by the pure. He knows that it is forbidden by the Law and that he is reaffirming, with this gesture, the transgression that the leper initiated. Only compassion moves him: I do will it. Be cleansed.

This is what the God who is incarnate in Jesus wants: to cleanse the world given to exclusions that go against the compassion of God as Father. It is not God who excludes, but rather our laws and institutions. God is not the one who marginalizes; we are the ones who do so. From now on, it should be clear to all that no one should be excluded in Jesus’ name.

To follow him means not to be horrified in the face of any unclean man or woman, not to withdraw our welcome from anyone who is “excluded.” For Jesus, what is first and foremost is the person who suffers, and not the norm. To put always the norm ahead is the best way to keep losing the sensitivity of Jesus in the face of the despised and rejected, the best way to live without compassion.

There are few places where Jesus’ Spirit is more recognizable than in those people who freely offer support and friendship to defenseless prostitutes, who accompany people with AIDS that have been forgotten by everyone, who defend gays that cannot be what they are with dignity…. They all remind us that there is room for everyone in God’s heart.

February 15, 2015
6 Ordinary Time (B)
Mark 1, 40-45

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