(from the bulletin)
I bet most of us would not have had any experience with a leper. It is unbearable to see the ulcerous loathsome growth in the body. Lepers are kept away from common residential areas; they remain as outcasts from ordinary human companionship. They are bereft of love, comfort, hope and human dignity. Their misery is boundless. The Book of Leviticus in the Bible says that the leper has to remain outside the city, with torn garments, flowing hair, covered beard, and cry “Unclean! Unclean!”
The Gospel today presents how Jesus responds to a leper, who suffers such a misery. Breaking down the barriers of hygiene and ritual purity, Jesus did what was unimaginable. He responds with great compassion to the leper’s faith invocation, “If you wish, you can make me clean”. He stretched out his hand and touched him saying, “I do will it. Be made clean.” Jesus extended a healing touch to the “untouchable” and comforted the outcast bringing him wholeness.
The healing ministry of Jesus should not be seen as a mere healing. It has a connection with passion of Jesus. Pope Paul VI highlights the relationship between the healing ministry of Jesus and his passion. The Pope explains that tortured and disfigured by the sweat of blood, having suffered the flagellation, the crowning with thorns, the crucifixion, the rejection by the people, Jesus has identified himself with lepers, becoming an image of a leper, as the prophet Isaiah had foreseen, “He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, knowing pain, like one from whom you turn your face, spurned, and we held him in no esteem. Yet it was our pain that he bore, our sufferings he endured. We thought of him as stricken, struck down by God and afflicted, but he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity… by his wounds we were healed” (Isaiah 53:3-5).
Mother Teresa of Calcutta spoke of the “leprosy of the Western world”, which is, the leprosy of loneliness. In her ministry to the lonely, the unwanted, the marginalized, the rejected, the AIDS victim, etc. she had given witness that with the love of Christ, there is healing for the leprosy of our modern times.
Installation of your Pastor:
What does it mean? Having been appointed by Bishop William Callahan as your Pastor, I will be installed canonically next Sunday at 8:00 a.m. Mass. This word applies to the induction of a person, in accordance with the Church Law, to occupy an Office in the Church. As the delegate of the Bishop, the dean Fr. Tom Lindner will receive my profession of faith and my oath to observe the Laws of the Church and the Statutes of the Diocese of La Crosse.
Committed to serve you
Fr. Arul Joseph V.