Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 12th, 2012 – Year B

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Dear Friends,

On this Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we are once again reminded about the Lord’s love for the sick, lonely, and down-trodden. The special aspect of today’s readings is His love and mercy toward those who are considered sinners and outcasts.

The Gospel story is about the man with leprosy who begs the Lord to make him “clean.” Moved with pity, the Lord cleansed him and returned him to the human family. In those days, leprosy stood for sinfulness and exclusion. Jesus does not make any distinctions; he reaches out in love and mercy to those who are the “untouchables” — such is God’s merciful and infinite love.

The invitation is very clear. We must do the same, and we must do it with His love. The “untouchables” of our days include those afflicted with AIDS. In the name of Jesus, we must put aside judgement and exclusion, and reach out to them in true love. We are called to make decisions for Christ and His kingdom.

Did we forget that we were the untouchables? That we were those in sin? Did we forget that the Lord Jesus reached out to us and restored us to life?

When we stretch out our hand to help someone, we accept that the world is broken and unfair, and then we move away from looking for someone or something to blame, to wanting to be a loving person. A good question we can ask ourselves is, “Do I want to be right in this situation, or do I want to be loving?” They are often not the same thing!

Today at the 11:00 a.m. Mass, we will celebrate the World Day of the Sick. This day was instituted in 1992 by His Holiness Pope John Paul ll, and is actually celebrated on February 11th each year, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. It is an opportunity for the ill and those who minister to them to reflect on the Christian meaning of suffering. This day also provides those involved in health care to reflect on the roots of their healing mission. We gather today to pray in the name of Jesus, the healer, and to invoke his healing power.

“You are my refuge, Lord;
with deliverance you surround me.”
(Psalm 32)