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Jesus Welcomes Outcasts

by Jun 25, 2021Friar Reflection

What is God’s Will?  Jesus shows us God’s Will through his words and actions.  The leper in today’s Gospel challenges Jesus: “Lord, if you wish (will), you can make me clean.”  In Jesus’ day people avoided lepers, viewing them as outcasts and unclean.  Jesus goes against the convention of His society and even His religious tradition.  Jesus’ Will, is God’s Will.  God’s Will, is that no one should be an outcast or ostracized.  Jesus responds to the leper: “I will do it.  Be made clean.”  God’s Kingdom is present when God’s Will, is done on earth as it is now being done in heaven.

Leprosy, like many diseases, has not only a physical aspect but also a psychological, and even spiritual aspect.  People feared the disease and so made the lepers outcasts of society.  Lepers were required to shout out “unclean, unclean” whenever they came near people.  Just imagine what that experience would do to your sense of self.  Many lepers saw themselves in a hopeless situation, as hated by others and even by God.  As Jesus brings out in today’s Gospel, this is not God’s Will.  God loves all as Jesus showed in His ministry.  Jesus went out to the “outcasts” of society so they would know that they were welcomed and loved by God.

Today leprosy is curable and lepers are no longer treated as the outcasts of our society.  Sadly, we still have people that society and even the church treats as outcasts.  God’s Will is to welcome all.  God’s love is extended to all, no one is excluded.  We Christians fail at times to show that love and compassion to the others or we are quick to judge and condemn, to make people feel unclean.  At times society or the church tells the poor that they are lazy, tells the immigrant that they are illegal, tells the gay person that they are sinners.  It is the same as making a leper cry out “unclean, unclean.”  Just imagine what any of these experiences would do to your sense of self.  Pope Francis asks, “Who am I to judge?”  He is in fact repeating the teaching of Jesus: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged.  For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2).