In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus cures a leper. Lepers were segregated from society and ostracized. Imagine yourself not belonging to family or society. You had to announce you were “unclean.” You were to be avoided.
Jesus doesn’t follow the norm of avoiding the leper. Jesus felt the pain of the leper. He took it into his own heart. Jesus asks us to do the same. When we encounter pain and suffering, we are to be imitators of Christ. Jesus would not walk away but would engage. Jesus would not recoil but embrace.
Our prayer is thus: “Lord give me the grace to imitate Jesus. May I console the hurting, bring joy to the saddened, give what is needed, toil without counting my personal cost, and do your will. Amen.”
ASH WEDNESDAY AND VALENTINE’S DAY
We begin Lent with Ash Wednesday. This year it also falls on Valentine’s Day. This is the first time in my years of priesthood that this has occurred. I would ask that you celebrate Valentine’s Day other than Wednesday of next week. I ask that you continue to read the book Perfectly Yourself by Matthew Kelly. Let us pay attention to three areas: prayer, fasting, and generosity (almsgiving). Make an attempt to each day pray, “Your kingdom come.” Be INTENTIONAL in striving to be like Christ. Pray for the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, goodness, chastity. Pray and ask God which one or two of these you need to grow in. May God bless your Lenten journey.
We thank Fr. Ken for being with us these past few days. I hope you were able to reflect on the themes of generosity, compassion, and reconciliation. My thanks to the hospitality committee for providing refreshments on Monday evening and for the priests who joined us for reconciliation.
On Ash Wednesday, I encourage you to erect crosses on your property with a purple sash. This is a great way to evangelize and help people notice the season of Lent.