February 11, 2018
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Leviticus 13:12, 44-46; 1Corinthians 10:31-11:1; Mark 1:40-45
From Father Jerry’s homily today:

Today’s scriptures lead us to the joyous season of Lent. Our challenge this week is to identify those in our lives who inhabit “the margins”: in our families, in our faith community, in our lives. And most importantly to look for ways to bring these individuals into our “camp”.

In high school, many of us remember the “lepers”, the untouchables. And this is true then and now. We label those who are marginal, “different” because they are too smart, too dense, a different color, size, they walk or talk differently. Younger people often categorize these people as “losers”. It’s tragic. They are often forced outside of the “camp”.

Today, we observe the “lepers” among us and frequently behavior is a tip off. Others are different from us by their language, their clothes, they may be using food stamps ahead of us in the grocery line or are too feeble.

The sores of the lepers leave a recognizable mark: via economic inequality, political divide, limited education.

St. Paul was the ultimate insider. He was a Jew, a Pharisee, beloved in Jerusalem, a tentmaker. But as an apostle he became an outsider—he reached out to the gentiles. He was a wisdom teacher in an ocean of wisdom teachers. But he made an uncharacteristic choice, which is also our challenge today. He surrendered all of his advantages to become all things to all people. He was an observant Jew, going to the temple to preach but also reaching out to others by traveling the world; and, in Athens appearing at the court of alien gods.

In Christ, there are no “kinds” of people --- just people. Love turns handicaps into quirky sorts of charm. All who love people on the “margin”, friends, family, coworkers, interracial families, gay families remind us today that the love of Christ can make them “clean”.

How are we bringing them back into the “camp”?