Wednesday, February 8, 2012
One of the gifts of growing older, in my opinion, has been my
appreciation of history. As a student I didn't have a strong
interest in the subject but that changed when my sister introduced
me to her genealogy work. I was hooked the moment a human
story replaced the memorization of dates.
On Monday night, the local PBS channel aired a story about William Still, an African-American in Philadelphia who was instrumental in helping nearly 800 slaves escape to freedom before the Civil War. For 14 years, Still risked his freedom and life so that strangers could have the dignity and freedom they had never known but desperately wanted.
Today's Gospel shares Jesus' risky move, one that is connected to eternal freedom. He touches a leper, a member of the "untouchable" society, someone who, according to the First Reading, "shall dwell apart" from the rest of the community in order to keep the majority of people "clean." In that moment, Jesus erases the division between the "unworthy" and the "worthy." He makes clear that redemption and God's love is available to all.
So far, I haven't felt called by God to do something as bold or dangerous as William Still did, so I am left with these questions:
1. Who are today's "lepers"?
2. How can I -- in my ordinary, everyday encounters -- demonstrate God's dignity and love toward others?
Rooted in the Cross, Word, and Eucharist ... compassionately responding through prayer, presence, and hospitality.
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