Christian Attitude Towards Outcasts

Word Alive–Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD February 14, 2021/6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Once a jeepney was passing in front of a leprosarium. Two patients, though already cured but still bore physical deformities, boarded. There was an uneasy silence as they moved to the front seat right beside the driver.

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A few minutes after, the two asked to stop and alight. The lady beside the driver reached out her hand to pay the fare. Afraid to touch the deformed hand and coins, the driver said: “Hindi na bale. Libre na po ang pamasahe” (Never mind. Your fare is free).”

The patient was so grateful that she held his hand and kissed it! Muntik ng himatayin ang driver! (The driver almost fainted).

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That amusing story shows how people sick of leprosy are very much dreaded. During the time of Christ, lepers were not only segregated as social outcasts but their sickness was considered a punishment from God.

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Thanks to the advances of medical science, leprosy is now curable. Nowadays we seldom meet lepers but we do have modern-day lepers.

Close to home today and shunned by people are corona virus patients because the sickness is highly contagious and could be fatal.

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It’s not only the patients who are avoided but also the medical frontliners. For instance, at the outset of the total lockdown when nurses and caregivers would hail taxis and jeepneys, the drivers would immediately turned them down for fear of contamination. Thank God, some compassionate bus operators volunteered their transport means. Others offered their vacant apartments and lots to the frontliners so they could pass the night and days for lack of transportation. The group called themselves “Bayanihan” through hospitality.

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Other modern-day lepers shunned by people in society are those stricken with AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), the prisoners, those living in depressed areas, tribal people.

What is our attitude as Christians towards them? Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, is our Ultimate Guide. We stand or fall on his Words. It can mean salvation or damnation. For instance, in today’s gospel, he teaches us in a dramatic way love and compassion towards a sick man. It’s hard to emulate Jesus’ example but that’s what he wants us to do as his followers.

Moreover, there are so many poor people to help! But as somebody said: “We cannot help everyone but everyone can help someone.”

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There’s an important insight in this Sunday gospel. The leper comes to Jesus and asks to be cured. Jesus stretches out his hand to the leper and cured him. We go to doctors and faith healers, but do we ever go to Jesus and avail of his healing sacraments like confession and receiving Holy Communion? One time I asked a doctor, “Do you believe in the saying, ‘God heals; the doctor collects the fee?’” He laughed and said: “Father, there’s some truth to that because if God does not will the cure, we doctors cannot do anything.”

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While we’re still in this world, may the following words of the writer John Dunne inspire us to do more good works: “I shall pass this way but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now. Let me not neglect nor defer it for I shall not pass this way again.”

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VALENTINE’S DAY. Let me quote the words of the late Anita S. Meily about true love.

“LOVE is caring – caring deeply about the loved one’s security, growth, and happiness. A prerequisite to loving and caring is knowledge of the loved one, to really know the other person – his/her needs, wants, desires, and values. Without this knowledge, one cannot supply what the loved person needs and wants from the other.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. HUSBAND: “My first years of marriage was beautiful. When I come home from work, my wife greets me with a smile and brings me my slippers. Our dog barks and barks, wagging his tail.

But after that, things have changed. I come home dead tired from work. Now my dog brings my slippers and my wife barks and barks!” Wives, take note.

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FAMILY TV MASS–is aired on TV5 One Sport Channel 59, Free TV Ch. 41 at 6-7 a.m. every Sunday and anytime at “MCFI SVD Media” Account on YouTube and Facebook Page. Priest presider: FR. BEL SAN LUIS, SVD. The FAMILY that prays together stays together.

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