6th Sunday of the Year B
QPosted on: Tue Dec 11, 2012
6Duration: 8:40 mins
"An extreme version of this fear of illness and suffering seems to be much of the inspiration for the increase in suicides today and the drive to promote the practice of euthanasia, the killing of those deemed unfit to live. Many saints, by contrast, have made a special point of overcoming their natural repulsion or fear for some of the worst diseases, especially leprosy. They've looked beyond the disease to see the person suffering as a beloved child of God. For St Francis of Assisi, a major turning point in his path to extreme holiness was when he embraced a leper. St Damien, who died in 1889 after caring for lepers for many years, is the first officially recognised saint of Hawaii. What then inspires people like St Francis, St Damien and many others, who are largely unknown, to care for the sick and outcast in this way? The most straightforward answer is that, by surrendering to the love of God, they were given the gifts that they needed to accomplish great deeds. Their lives show the fruit of the Holy Spirit called benignity, which is like a holy fire by which a person melts to relieve the needs of others. They also had a special form of courage. The source and keystone of this courage was not a confidence in their own physical survival, indeed St Damien himself died of leprosy, this courage is a gift of the Holy Spirit, a confidence in attaining heaven, the only goal that really matters, so long as one remains in personal union with God. "
Readings: Gospel: Mark: 1, 40-45: A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, "I do will it. Be made clean." The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
© Fr Andrew Pinsent. Academic Web Site.