"I do choose. Be made clean!"
During the first wave of the COVID-19 19 crisis, I was called to Anoint a patient who was dying of the Virus. With lots of fear, I went to hospital, following all the rules, came to the unit, consulted the staff. Having been traumatized by all the news I heard, I was nervous as I was putting on the protection gowns and equipment. The Nurse looked understood my fear: She asked me “do you want me to come with you?” with one breath I said “yes please”. She too put on the gowns, and we both went in and anointed the person who was struggling to breath and gave her the last rites. As I was returning from the hospital, I felt a great sense of admiration for all the essential workers who put their own life at risk, often have limited contact with their families and always go to work to save the lives of others.
Consult no condemn
I believe we are familiar with the public health protocols – Physical distancing, Put on the mask, avoid close contact with the person who has the virus, More Testing and now vaccination. In the first reading we get a similar instruction. God tells Moses and Aaron, if someone suffers from a skin disease: Examine the person, don’t condemn the person. Often in our life, we consciously or unconsciously, with our attitudes, when someone is affected with an illness, or going through difficult times, suffers mental illness, or does not join in religious or spiritual activity, we will be quick to judge the person. We need to consult and help the person to recover so that the person is not cut off and isolated but brought back to the community. Today we pray for all those professional workers who help others to recover and bring healing to others, especially those who work in the hospitals, addiction centers, social outreach and prison.
We need to consult always before taking the decisions so that we have a clear understanding of the situations and the person.
One time I was given beautiful advice by sending a postcard with these words: For further instructions Consult God. Let us never forget to consult God.
Compassion with Action
Someone rightly said: Compassion without action is just observation. We love to observe or read and talk about people or things, but do not dare to take even small acts to help lessen the burdens others carry.
Today we heard the story of Jesus healing the man with leprosy. The gesture of Jesus is communicating with the person: I do choose to be made clean and stretch out the hands and touch him. Jesus using both verbal and physical gestures to bring healing. Today many people may not be suffering from a physical leprosy, but I feel a lot of people are suffering from emotional leprosy – alienation from others, and spiritual leprosy – alienation from God. Mother Therese said: Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody I think that is much greater humble , a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. Loneliness’ and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
My dear friends, as the season of Lent is coming close, can we think about how we can be part of the mission of Jesus of being persons of Compassion with actions. What would be the actions we can do with compassion, so we can be persons of healing, love and peace.
Community of love and joy
Today in the Second reading, St. Paul speaks about the beautiful attitude that each person and community should possess: Gratitude: As he says: "whether you eat and drink, whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God." Today let us join in thanksgiving from all the graces we have received. Let our life and our community be a place of joy and peace so that others can imitate us in following Christ. Pope Francis says: A Christian is never bored or sad. Rather the one who loves Christ is full of joy and radiates joy.
Let us be persons of Joy, families of joy, communities of joy where light of Christ has filled with love, compassion and peace. Let remember to consult God, be compassionate in action so we can build Christ’s community of joy and love.
Reflections by Rev. Wilson Andrade, CSC