Jesus gives us an example of tender and inclusive charity. Our Teacher and Lord wants such charity to be the badge that identifies his disciples.
The cure of a leper reveals clearly the charity of Jesus, the love that binds him to those who suffer. He is moved with pity at the sight of someone who, by law, should not be in contact with anyone. He thus shares in the leper’s pain.
And right away he stretches out his hand and touches the law-breaker, saying to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” In doing so, Jesus shares, moreover, in the breach of law that the leper has initiated.
That is how sublime the charity of Jesus is. It prompts him to take up our infirmities, bear our diseases, and become sin and a curse for our sake.
That is because, for healing us and reinstating us to our place in the community, Jesus finds himself needing to remain outside. And, ultimately, he gives his body up and sheds his blood outside the camp in order to cleanse us, to make us holy.
Needless to say, the charity of Christ impels us Christians to love in the same way.
Christians are to imitate Jesus. So, just as Jesus lays down his life for us, we ought to lay down our lives also for our brothers and sisters. For this reason, Christians who refuse to welcome those who are at outside separate themselves from Jesus and his love.
Christians who really put on charity, the bond of perfect unity, cannot but welcome and serve those in the outskirts. And theirs is the conviction that charity is the fulfillment of the law. In other words, they recognize that “charity is above all rules” (SV.EN X:478), norms and laws. That is why they leave God for God. That is to say, they set aside their prayers to help a needy person outside, knocking at the door. They open themselves even to those whom the authorities decry as “illegals.” Of course, they oppose those who incite others to hatred, division and exclusion.
Lord Jesus, make us prove that you have forgiven and cleansed us through our tender and inclusive charity.
11 February 2018
6th Sunday in O.T. (B)
Lev 13, 1-2. 44-46; 1 Cor 10, 31 – 11, 1; Mk 1, 40-45