Sunday, October 9, 2016

28th Sunday C: We are lepers all, God's image in us marred by sin

In the Rosellini film “The Flowers of Saint Francis” a series of black and white vignettes drawn from the saint’s life are strung together. In one of them Saint Francis encounters a leper.

Francis the man is repulsed by the leper's disfigurement, a natural reaction we share with him, but having come to love the Lord Jesus passionately knows that he cannot claim to love Christ if he cannot love his brother. This being an Italian film about an Italian there is no hesitation in the realization that love expressed must somehow be tangible, physical.

The warning tinkle of the bell the leper rings to warn others upon his approach to keep their distance summons the conscience of Francis to do the opposite, the unthinkable: to rather draw near this suffering and repulsive icon of Christ in distressing disguise. His effort to overcome himself takes on the aspect of a physical drama as he repeatedly reaches out and then shrinks back again in horror at the prospect of an embrace.

Finally, grace instructs nature and the two find momentary solace: Francis wraps the suffering leper tightly in his arms, the eyes of faith encountering Christ in repugnant disguise.

People are sounding very Catholic in their justified condemnation of the very sinful remarks released on a video of a prominent candidate for election as the president of the US.

His words may even amount to sexual assault they are so offensive and reprehensible.
His disrespect of women and objectification of them is a grave sin which we must all renounce.

What he said was wrong and should never under any circumstances ever be considered acceptable. But let us make no mistake: the greatest moral battle of outrage is against legalized abortion.

Respect for everyone, including women at risk of sexual assault, begins with defending the weakest among us: the preborn woman. #DefendLife

The candidate in the video is wrong because what he did violated the virtue of chastity long taught by the Church as necessary for all of us.
But the Church teaches us that chastity is necessity for all of us and it was his human weakness of life without grace and repentance and lack of the virtue of chastity that led to his downfall.

His repentance and forgiveness by God are a personal matter and we can only pray for him as we pray for all.

This man’s leprosy is now on view to all
But we are all lepers because “we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

God’s first concern is not that we have sinned; he knows that.
And we cannot justify ourselves by a prudish or obsessive concern with the weakness or sins of others.

As a matter of fact, although we must always shun repeating falsehoods about others, even to discuss their sins is detraction and a sin.
No, the Lord asks only that we seek forgiveness and that in faith we return to give thanks for his merciful love.

And that is what we are doing tonight; we have returned in the faith hich saves to thank the Lord for his many mercies.

In this wired and internet 24/7 news culture politicians with a past may always worry that the other shoe may drop. Sin unfortunately sometimes follows a pattern for those who are dishonest about their weaknesses.

We, however, are called to more because we are given more: God’s mercy, a grace for the strength or virtue of chastity and the humble living of daily repentance as we avoid the near occasions of sin which we know will play on our weaknesses.  And this for the most grave of sins necessarily in sacramental confession.

Approaching the altar to receive the Lord in holy Communion while suffering the hideous leprosy of mortal is both useless and a sacrilege: adding sin upon sin.

All of us must regularly admit to our wrongdoing, and always in the confessional for grave sins such as breaking the Commandments. And we must continue to walk humbly with God, recognizing that without His grace we would be dying of the most hideous leprosy: that of sin which can cast both body and soul into hell forever.

All of us are lepers because of sin; returning in faith to give the Lord thanks for His merciful love saves us” 28th Sunday #homilytweet @MCITLFrAphorism

Yes, we’re all lepers but God hugs us anyway.

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