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Redwood Journal

Writings by Harry Martin, Dcn.

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Hope

The Leper

Cosimo Rosselli The Healing of the Leper (detail, Cappella Sistina, Vatican, 1481-82
The Leper
Lk. 5:12-16

Known only as the ‘the leper’,
outcast within the town.

With eyes from his marred face,
he watched all those around.

He saw the men at work,
strong, with muscles bold.

He saw the mothers back holding,
their children, with stares so cold.

He saw the friends, the lovers,
their smiles, their warm embrace,

and watching them to touch,
made within his heart to ache.

Known only as the leper,
outcast within the town,

touched only by the scorn,
where fear and hate abound,

his leper’s wealth abundant,
his lonely tears surround.

Until the day He came.
Jesus was in the town.

And when his eyes did see Him,
from his face marred and scared,

he fell, the hated leper,
before Him,  to hope, he dared.

Faith’s desperate plea escaped him,
for cleansing did he make.

At least, for words, of mercy
within his heart to place.

Amazed saw he then,
Love’s hand for him to reach…

Amazed. then in awe,
His touch, His cleansing, His peace.

Then within his heart
the words he longed to hear,

I will, be clean, and go.
 Love’s healing touch to show.

1st Week of Advent: Know ~ Hope

A prayer for this 1st week of Advent:

Heavenly Father as we seek Christ the King, your Son, our Savior, we ask you,
to help us to be ready
for His coming.
Forgive us our failings.
Our world is deeply wounded and struggling
and this is seen
in many wounded and struggling souls.
Holy Love,
help us to cherish all life,
to nurture our life choices
by sharing your compassion.
Help us comfort the wounded and anxious.
May our words bring hope,
our deeds, healing.
May we live and share faith,
in your mercy,
and, together,
Know Hope,
as we discover the beauty of Your Truth, Jesus.
Holy King, Holy Love, come!
Amen.

Hands of Hope & Healing

{Artwork: “The Leper” by Ron DiCianni}

Our reading from the book of Leviticus today gives us a powerful view of the lonely and hopeless existence of the lepers of old. Outcasts, untouchables they were condemned, without hope. Through the ages they have come to symbolize the most hopeless of the hopeless.
Then in the Psalm we can hear and sense the Spirit of God leading us on, calling us to prayer, to the Presence of Christ.
And in our reading from Mark’s Gospel we are brought to another scene. A leper, unclean, outcast, without hope dares the unthinkable. This man symbolizing and living the despair of infectious hopelessness calls out to Jesus, son of Mary, Son of God. Condemned in his defilement he calls out to He who was undefiled, holy, pure. It is in that pristine love that our Lord does the unthinkable. Christ, son of God reaches out as the Son of Man and touches him who was never to be touched, and utters those words of hope, of life…”I do will it, be made clean”.
Today the Holy Spirit still empowers the hands of God to reach out to those others will not touch. The Words of Christ still speak hope and healing to those in despair. That work is the work of Christ’s Body. It is the mission of each man and woman, girl or boy who has been baptized into the Family of God. It is the voice of God’s Spirit that calls us to be one family in mission… the mission of the Kingdom of Christ.
In sharing the mission of Christ we may be tempted to look only at our abilities, our resources at hand, or even perhaps our wealth. All those aspects are important, even vital in the doing the work of Christ. Yet IF we only respond on the basis of our strength or our resources we miss an important reality of God’s love. The great works of God are not built from our prosperity..but from our need and God’s grace.
The leper in the Gospel did not consider that his desperate need would draw Him to the riches of God. Little did he expect that in his seeking the unthinkable the hope and healing work of God would grow on to inspire and touch hearts for ages to come.
We can look to the faithful in our own diocese. On a wind swept bluff overlooking the Pacific ocean there stand a church. Built from the faith, hard work and sacrifice of the early lumberjacks and farmers of the rugged north coast the beautiful little church of the Blessed Sacrament in Elk stands and serves to this day. Built not from the wealth and abundance of an affluent people it was built from the need and sacrifice of a peop0le of faith and vision. It was built with the hands and hearts of God’s family united in mission for the work of Christ.
We can look to the clergy and religious who have faithfully served through the years in parishes, and in ministries such as restorative justice. It is usually without realizing or feeling the truth that they are still being the hands of Christ, touching those others will not touch or speaking words of mercy and hope for those in need of mercy, in need of hope.
As member of God’s family. sharers in Hs mission we are called to respond. This call brings us to decisions.
Will we look only to our needs? Our problems, inabilities or wounds? The leper in the Gospel, while recognizing his needs chose to look beyond his hopelessness. In so doing he was able to look to..call to and know the touch and voice of God that would bring his healing. Little did he realize that his need would bring hope to countless souls for millennia to come.
As we remember we are part of God’s family we may be tempted to look only to the failings of a few. We may allow anger or bitterness to cloud our vision and cripple the working of God in out hearts. We would do well to remember that all families have failings. And, that it is God’s family, with all our shortcomings, that we are a people being redeemed. If we are tempted to just focus on past failures, however tragic, it is time to allow the voice of the Savior to lead us to forgive…to build a bridge and get over it! Build a Bridge and Get over It!

Today many are struggling, in despair. Their hopes for success…security…are crushed. And even today there are still those who many would look upon as lepers. May we, as part of His family, His Body do our part to make sure His hands, His voice can reach all who need to know His hope and healing.
If you heart or home is struggling..please call out to Him..let His hands touch the needs and speak His hope, His peace, His Love. In doing so may we then allow His same hope and healing to reach others through our lives.

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