Doing sinful acts, let’s be frank is fun. Opinions of others matter too much these days. It influences our behavior. Peer group endorsement makes us braver to challenge the limits of a moral lifestyle. We strut along the thin line of what act is sinful and what isn’t. We argue that it is now socially acceptable. Times have changed, God is old fashioned.

Goaded by the people around us we challenge new frontiers of personal behavior. Often we afford to do this when life is kind to us when we have a big group of friends, with a bit more money to spend and of course, in good health. God and his strict codes are pushed into the background. With money and health who needs God? The people closest to us takeover as our moral compass. Wrongly influenced we drift away from God. This is communal leprosy.

Until our life hit a crisis. Most times it requires a physical or material meltdown. We begin to fall out in relationships with the people around us. Gradually at odds with the wisdom of the world we find ourselves alone with our thoughts. Isolated, stripped of communal support, we find ourselves ‘lost’. We reach out in the darkness of our life. “God, are you still there?”

Beset by guilt, we cloak the face of our lifestyle, ashamed that He might see it. We cry, “Unclean, unclean”. Isolated we feel abandoned and unworthy. But it is only in isolation that we will pay attention to the spirit within us. We will come to a realization that God never abandoned us even during the days we wandered far into sin. Isolated, and when we dare open our eyes we find that He is the only one waiting faithfully for us. We are all graced when in isolation.

Our response to this grace today, “You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation”. “I said, ‘I will confess my offence to the Lord’. And you, Lord, have forgiven the guilt of my sin”.

Isolated like a leper we face Jesus and plead on our spiritual knees: “’If you want to, you can cure me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!’ he said. ‘Be cured!’”

“Of course I want to!” Only in isolation will we realize the weight of this unconditional love. “Be cured!”

We need to pay attention to communal leprosy; of how we can be part of a community that can either lead others astray or isolate them. Even so if we belong to a church community. As long as we are in a group of people, communal leprosy lurks. It is a disease that spreads whenever we put self before God.

The vaccine is in the second reading from St Paul, “Whatever you do at all, do it for the glory of God. I try to be helpful to everyone at all times, not anxious for my own advantage but for the advantage of everybody else, so that they may be saved. Take me for your model, as I take Christ.”

communal leprosy 2

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time