Theme: Help Me!
Wailing Wall, Temple Mount
By: Deacon Bill Frere
Homily for Friday January 7 2022
I admit it – most of the time I think I don’t need anyone’s help, that I can do things on my own! That didn’t work out so well yesterday when I tried to balance a big bowl of homemade chicken soup and it ended up on the floor instead of in my mouth. Especially around the house, I believe I am Mr. Fix-it and can solve any problem. At least until I realize I need another hand, or something is too heavy or too far away to reach. Those times when I am literally STUCK and have to ask for help! It’s not easy; it takes a great deal of humility and honesty admitting that I am not as independent as I think. To be honest, I should have realized that long ago. I could never have been able to rewire a lamp or repair a front porch or change the oil or unclog a drain without the advice and hands-on example of my dad and my father-in-law.
The man in today’s Gospel understands that! He is afflicted with leprosy, which makes him a social outcast. He cannot associate, talk or approach anyone! He has to remain on the outskirts of town to avoid any contact. He is completely alone in the world, cut off even from his family and friends.
And yet, look what he does. He comes into town, approaches Jesus and starts a conversation. What a display of humility, of honesty, of courage and of faith! He asks Jesus to cure him! He has no expectations, no real hope that Jesus will even notice him, much less respond. Society would have demanded that Jesus just turn his back and pretend the man doesn’t even exist.
But Jesus does respond; He does cure him. And then He sends him off to the priest to certify that he is really cleansed of leprosy. Jesus’ simple act of compassion will allow him to rejoin his family, to be re-admitted to society.
In our worst moments, when life gets too heavy to bear, when we get stuck in our own depression and sadness over the state of our life and our world (need I say more?), Jesus reminds us today that we are not alone! All it takes is a good dose of humility, a recognition that we are not as perfect as we think! All it takes is a bit of courage and complete faith in God! Help me; I can’t do this on my own! We hear it even in today’s Morning Prayer – “A humble, contrite heart, O God, you will not spurn.”
Heal us, Lord! Make us clean!
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