Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Homily Transcript
One of the most memorable things that Pope Francis said to his priests and in early part of his papacy are the words that a shepherd should smell like his sheep. Pope Francis actually gave his own very beautiful example early on.
It was a very moving moment early in the Pope’s papacy when Francis embraced, kissed, and prayed with a severely disfigured man. This man’s face and head and body were completely covered with these growths and boils and these itchy sores. The man explained that throughout his life he had to put up with unkindness in the form of bullying by strangers, intimidation, and verbal abuse on the streets and in public transport. But Pope Francis sets this example for us all. He shows humility, courage, and charity by physically interacting with a brother Who only was seeking out love and acceptance from his fellow human beings. And not only did Pope Francis act in the spirit of saint Francis himself, he was being like Christ. It’s how Jesus would have acted.
We just heard in today’s gospel how a leper, who obviously was rejected by society, courageously approaches Jesus, not with the common warning, “unclean, unclean,” but he has a humble, simple request, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” And Jesus, we’re told, is so moved with pity, he doesn’t drive the leper away. He reaches out and he touches him. And even before the leprosy left the man, the mere touch alone of Jesus brought the man healing and peace. It changed him.
There’s a great message here for us today, that if we are to strive to be like Christ, we have to in our own day and age identify with people who seem outcast, shunned, persecuted, or marginalized in any way. These, for example, are some of our brothers and sisters Who are disabled, or they have special needs. They’re mocked and ignored. They might be the refugee fleeing for their lives
Who have nowhere to go. People of color and ethnicity or gender are victimized by the evil of racism and bigotry. And so today we’re reminded, being Christ-like, we are helping to make the church grow more human. But one that reflects Christ’s cleanliness of spirit, and that’s our call.
If we are to be Christ for each other, the challenge for us is to continue in our day and age to break down those barriers that keep us from each other.
And so today i invite us to reflect on what’s that barrier that we might be called to work on today.