St. Augustine of Canterbury Parish
“Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him,
and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’” (Mark 1:41)
We might find ourselves in a difficult situation sometimes but we hope someone might have
empathy to help us. We might see someone in a terrible situation so we need to have compassion
to help the person. We might see someone in a challenging situation where we hope someone
else might come over to the rescue of the person. In today’s Gospel, a leper was in a difficult
health as well as social situation when he really needed a compassionate help. Jesus came over
into the life of the leper to show his empathy, solidarity and healing grace: “Moved with pity,
Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’”
In the world, there are still many people isolated not only because of pathological conditions of
diseases but because of social and cultural circumstances. People might be isolated because all
their efforts to help others or protect others were critiqued and rejected. Because they were
rejected, they might stay away from other people:
“The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying:
When a person has on the skin of the body
a swelling or an eruption or a spot,
and it turns into a leprous disease on the skin of the body,
that person shall be brought to Aaron the priest
or to one of his sons the priests.
A person who has the leprous disease shall wear torn clothes
and let the hair of the head be dishevelled
and shall cover the upper lip and cry out,
A person shall remain unclean as long as the disease persists;
and being unclean, that person shall live alone
with a dwelling outside the camp.” (Leviticus 13.1-2, 45-46)
How can the isolated, shut-ins and marginalized be integrated and welcome into the social fabric
if there are no one filled with pity, compassion, and empathy to help them? Instead of waiting for
the best conditions in order to integrate people in the social milieu, Jesus himself enters their
difficult situations in order to bring them back to the community. This was the case of the leper:
“A man with leprosy came to Jesus begging him,
and kneeling said to Jesus,
‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’
Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him,
and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’
Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
After sternly warning him Jesus sent him away at once,
saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone;
but go, show yourself to the priest,
and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded,
as a testimony to them.” (Mark 1: 40-44)
Today we too can choose to be the extended and the continuing pity of Jesus in the world around
us. We too can fulfill the role of universal priesthood by integrating and incorporating people in
the grace of the fabric of God. We too can spread the word about the compassion of God:
“But the man went out and began to proclaim it freely,
and to spread the word,
and people came to Jesus from every quarter.” (Mark 1:45)
We can be imitators of the compassionate works of Christ by seeking the advantage of all those
“All things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial.
All things are lawful, but not all things build up.
Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.
Eat whatever is sold in the meat market
without raising any question on the ground of conscience,
for the earth and its fullness are the Lord’s.
If an unbeliever invites you to a meal,
and you are disposed to go,
eat whatever is set before you
without raising any question on the ground of conscience.
But if someone says to you,
‘This has been offered in sacrifice,’
then do not eat it,
out of consideration for the one who informed you,
and for the sake of conscience –
I mean the other’s conscience, not your own.
For why should my liberty
be subject to the judgment of someone else’s conscience?
If I partake with thankfulness,
why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks?
Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do everything for the glory of God.
Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks
or to the church of God,
just as I try to please everyone in everything I do,
not seeking my own advantage, but that of many,
so that they may be saved.
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:23 -11:1)
This week, let us try to be the extended pity and the compassion of God to people. Let us imitate
the empathy and the mercy of Christ. Let us be part of the healing grace of God in the world