Bishop Richard's Weekly Reflection: We must welcome the outcast, sick, lonely and vulnerable.

February 9, 2024

Text: 'Bishop Richard's Weekly Reflection' with an image of Bishop Richard in white cope, and violet zuchetto, preaching at an ambo

Dear brothers and sisters,

This Sunday’s first reading provides us with the Law of Moses concerning the treatment of lepers. They are to remain outside the camp for as long as the disease persists. While there would have been a great fear of contagion, this meant rejection for the one who was sick, the loss of their livelihood and their dignity.

In the Gospel, Jesus’ response to the leper is the welcome of touch and the gift of healing. Health, dignity, livelihood are all restored to him.

The result for Jesus is that he becomes the one who can no longer, as it were, ‘enter the camp.’ He takes on the impact of the disease for the one he had cured.

When we come to Holy Week, we find Jesus taken outside the city again – this time to be crucified for our sins, for the sins of the whole world. Jesus becomes outcast, unclean, condemned for the whole world, for men and women of every time, every nation, for you, for me.

St Paul reminds us that Jesus is the model for his actions, his life. We are called to do as Paul did. Jesus is our model too. Thus when we encounter the outcast, the sick, the lonely, the vulnerable of our society, we must strive to welcome them, to bring them healing and dignity.  As Jesus did, so we are called to take their burden and walk with them into the freedom that comes through the One Who died and rose for us.

With every blessing,

+ Richard