Father John's Homily for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Archbishop asked all the parishes in Atlanta to play his Annual Appeal video at Masses this weekend instead of our clergy preaching.

Father John had already completed his homily for this weekend and wanted to share it with you.


(The readings of the day can be found by clicking here.)


Enjoy!


++++++++++++++++


The theme of our readings today

is outreach to the outcast.

In both the Book of Leviticus and in the Gospel of Mark

the leper represents those who fail to measure up

to society’s standard of beauty, education and class.

The lepers represents those who are set apart or cut off

because we consider them flawed.

In order to allow these readings to speak to us,

we must identify the lepers in our own lives.

We all have marginalized people, made lepers of them.

What person or what group have we treated this way?

Perhaps our modern day lepers

are those who are not physically attractive,

those with weight issues, the mentally ill,

the alcoholic, the unmarried pregnant teen,

the homosexual, the homeless person,

the black sheep of the family

who is perceived as a failure and an embarrassment,

the one person of a different ethnic background or religion.

The list goes on and on, (2)

and we are all guilty of rejecting others,

of cutting them off from our acceptance and our support.

Once we recognize who the outcasts are in our lives.

we are ready to hear the challenge of Jesus

to reach out to those people.

Jesus makes it clear that He has come to save the lepers of the world.

He healed ten lepers,

He ate at table with sinners and tax collectors, prostitutes.

In the Parable of the lost sheep Jesus tells us

that God’s mercy is like that of the shepherd

who left the 99 sheep in the wilderness

and went in search of one stray sheep.

The lost sheep, like the lepers

are a symbol of the one who is cut off from the community,

alone and without resources

until someone reaches out.

We are meant to imitate Jesus in this outreach.

Christians are to bring healing and acceptance

to those whom society has rejected.

Our standard for acceptance is not (3)

society’s criteria of beauty, wealth, status.

Our standard as Catholic Christians

is the concern of Jesus for the poor,

the needy and the marginalized.

It is not the outcasts and sinners who offend Jesus,

it’s those who consider themselves better than others

and find excuses to ignore the needy.

Jesus is offended by those of us who use our status and privlige

to belittle and ignore others.

When I am willing to acknowledge

my rejection of others who are not like me,

only then can I begin to understand

the meaning of Jesus’ words

that He came not to call the just but sinners.

Then I will be ready to reach out to others

with the same love and acceptance

that Jesus offers to me.

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