I love it when my favorite Priest shares his homily on fb Sunday morning. There are two things I always here 1) Jesus and 2) something to grow on. Having to think and pray and contemplate. It’s even better when Seth gets in on the conversation this week too….
Homily for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary time
Years ago I was friendly with a family whose only daughter was a bright young teenager;
She was beautiful; people always used to exclaim how pretty she was, and how thin!
It was only later that we discovered the reason for this thinness was that she was bulimic.
3. This began years of therapy as her parents sought to cure her of this illness restore her health. But also discover the reason for her illness. What they discovered was what so many parents of bulimic children discover: That it is precisely the attention people paid her due to her thinness, The love she was wanted to win from others, The acceptance she would feel from being part of the beautiful “in” crowd, That drove her to throw up the food she had just eaten. She so wanted to be accepted and loved, however, that she began to separate herself from her family and friends to hide her secret. Her bulimia reminded us, in fact reminds us all. That while we might not be bulemic, That desire to be accepted and loved, Will cause us to do things; to the point of hurting ourselves and others so that we might win the love of others.
We have to understand that about ourselves in order to begin to understand the words of this morning’s first reading. For the book of Leviticus commands that a leper must separate from the people of Israel; to live apart, dressed like a person doing penance,
warning everyone, even their own families, who might try to come close, that they were unclean. Moreover since any skin disease could classify someone as a leper from the actual disease called leprosy to a bad case of acne, anyone could run the risk of being labeled as unclean and thus being excluded from the families that offered them support, excluded from the tribes that offered them protection and ultimately excluded from God’s chosen people.
It seems so harsh; and yet the reason this rule was so important that it was considered part of God’s law was not because they wanted to be cruel; it was because they wanted to be loved. God loved the people of Israel. And Israel loved God. If God called the people to be holy, to be clean, not of dirt but of sin or fault, to be as perfect as the priests had to be, as perfect as their offering in the temple had to be, Well then the people were going to exclude anyone that jeopardized that holiness; because that was how they expressed their desire to be accepted and loved by God.
But Jesus had other ideas. When he meets a leper in this morning’s Gospel reading,
he does not avoid him but approaches him; does not ignore him but talks to him, touches him and heals him, restoring him to his family, his tribe and God’s people. Little wonder Jesus got into so much trouble. For since Jesus did not avoid the leper, according to the law he became unclean like the leper; and if the leper was supposed to be rejected then he was too. But when Jesus touches the leper, Jesus does not become unclean, instead the leper becomes clean. Many might have missed the point, but Mark doesn’t and neither should we. God’s love is not expressed through exclusion; but through inclusion; not through rejection but acceptance.
God offers this love to us all the time. but most importantly in the sacrament of confession; many of us avoid confession as if it were the leper in today’s story! But really, all confession is, is doing what the leper did; going to Jesus and being honest with who we are, and sincere in our desire to be accepted and loved by God. And then letting Jesus do to us what Jesus did to that leper; Speak to us, listen to us, touch us and forgive us, restoring our relationship with God and the church. And all God asks of in return; God’s only law according to Jesus, is that we do the same for others.
But we dare not isolate the Sacrament of reconciliation from the rest of our Church’s life. For what we experience there we do all the time here in church; We do it in baptism and in our blessing of people preparing for their sacraments. We do it in the welcome we give to new people, The support we give to long time parishioners And the acceptance we show everyone who walks through that door; all of it is a continuation of what happened in this morning’s Gospel – a continuation of Jesus’ Ministry of Reconciliation. And while this might seem small and insignificant; it is not!
Because the acceptance that comes through that love can work miracles;
Just ask that young girl I spoke of. She struggled with bulimia for years; But no longer. Why? She fell in love; someone who loved her for who she was, not how she looked. And that accepting love made her realize she did not need to punish her body. In short it healed her. Just imagine what it could do for others! And it does, every time we allow ourselves to be Jesus’ hand, sharing with them, what he shared with that leper, and shares with us.
From Seth: Roses, chocolates and greeting cards are a stand-in for actual human emotions, a stand-in for caring and respect and love. But of course, it’s way easier to make the expense on chocolate go up than it is to actually care more.
Both my favorite Priest homily and the thought from Seth’s blog brought to mind something that to me, is essential not only in life in general but the quilting world more specifically – kindness to oneself that extends to others and to ourselves.
There are so many quilterly thoughts running through my head right now and so many things I want to say. However I would like to hear your quilterly thoughts on this.
What would you say to a new, newer quilter?
What are the words of wisdom you would want to hear?
What are the ways that you’ve learned to be loving and giving in your quilting world? What’s the most important thing a teacher, any teacher has ever taught you?
Oh so many questions.
And for me – quilting has taught me that I’m not as awful as I’ve led myself to believe. That I have more to offer. And that generosity and kindness mean a lot. I’ve learned that some thoughts are best private or unpublished. Not everyone wants to know what I’m thinking or if they do a one on one conversation means so much more. It means taking more of a risk when we do talk and being open to perhaps being wrong or maybe being right and having some words of wisdom to offer, words of healing and reconciliation. How do I bring mercy here?