Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sunday's Reading

Father Bill at St. Peter's Church in Covington talked about the 'leprosy' that is sinfulness and its affect on society today in mass. He built the picture of the leper approaching Jesus with the knowledge that he (the leper) could be stoned to death. "This act of mercy from Christ was not just a 'Go and be healed', it was thoughtful and meaningful, as Christ knew the trials of this man," Fr. Bill said.

Meaning in Christ's actions can be hard to understand even for the most intuitive spiritual person. Fr. Bill created a picture of Christ for the congregation that depicts a man of charity and a man willing to forfeit his life to believe. Of course, Christ heals with all love, this man that is disfigured and shunned by society. But even more meaningfully, Christ longs to heal man today. Fr. Bill mentioned the plight of the unborn and those that support pro-abortion legislation. He stated that pro-abortion legislators are not allowed, by Canon law, to receive the Holy Eucharist. Obviously, there is much healing that needs to take place.

The scripture today reminds me of the Baptism of Christ, "And the Spirit remained on Him." There are many that feel far away from the Spirit. They feel disfigured by despair, worry, doubt and feelings of being cast aside from society by their own actions or what they perceive as personal truth. But, the Spirit remains with those baptized in Christ, and those that have strayed due to 'personal truths' can still be loved and shown the true Truth.

In the same way the Spirit remains in Christ, the third person of the Trinity remains in the baptized. Therefore it is not only Your duty to crawl to Christ like the cast aside leper as one willing to forfeit his life, but also to show charity to those beyond your society.
How do I do this?

Because I work with people all day, I see a glaring need for both children and adults to be loved. It is difficult to find ways to love when many are selfish, but it takes practice. One main way is to counter your own feelings of betrayal, hate or bitterness toward a person that has not been loved properly.

A second method is to manuever your actions toward this person to show understanding for the way they feel, just by listening. (You don't have to agree.)

Listening is not the same as 'tolerance' for bad things, but it is a tool of Love. Most people already know or sense where you stand, and it may be the reason they are attacking you. Someone once told me, "People attack ideas in the Church that would otherwise fill gaping holes in their own lives." But listening with love and charity is being Christ for that person. (Hint: Jesus 'heard' the woman at the well, and look at the results!)

Third, pray the rosary. You or I are weak and can not crawl on our own or listen on our own or stop judging on our own. Believe me, been there, failed at that! Besides, it is selfish to believe a God that allows himself to die into you in the Holy Eucharist, could be stopped from helping you! Our Lady is an amazing example through scripture of patient listening and Loving. Through daily rosary we contemplate the life of Christ to counter the failings of our own passions.

Our Lord longs to stand beside you while you practice being like Him toward others. Even if you realize you have been crawling, Our Lord longs to pick you up and heal you as he healed the Leper.

St. Damian, the priest who went to the island of lepers to serve, and then became one himself, practiced. And obviously 'He got it'. He forfeited, he died to self for those who were outcast. But rather than become an outcast, he joined the most winning team ever in history. If souls were trophies!

Luckily, I am still practicing, and mostly crawling spiritually these days, but I am practicing. It's difficult, but you can't let one off word from a stranger or loved one turn your heart away from acting on charity. Remember, when Christ, the Divine Man, became a man, He made it possible for the Spirit to remain on you!

You can only defeat the leprosy of others and of the world, by defeating it within yourself.
"Remain in me, and I will Remain in You."