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Thursday, January 12, 2006

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1 Samuel 4:1-11
Psalm 44
Mark 1:40-45

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"Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out His hand [and] touched him." —Mark 1:41

We have many lepers in our society although the disease is not common. Today's lepers are any who are untouchable, incurable, or alienated. These people have resisted all attempts to love and heal them. Medical care and even healing prayer cannot heal a leper. Lepers must be touched. We must become vulnerable and even expose ourselves to leprosy. In fact, we must not only accept the possibility of becoming leprous, we must actually become lepers. Jesus began to touch lepers, and soon He Himself was the outcast, alienated, and despised.

We begin in service, move to vulnerability, and finally reach solidarity. Jesus saved the world not only by helping us or even endangering Himself. He saved us by becoming one of us. He emptied Himself (Phil 2:7), and became like us in all things but sin (Heb 2:17; 4:15). "He made Himself poor though He was rich" (2 Cor 8:9). "For our sakes God made Him Who did not know sin, to be sin, so that in Him we might become the very holiness of God" (2 Cor 5:21).

Solidarity is the way of Christ. We free the poor not so much by helping them but by becoming one of them. We empower the powerless not by sharing the power but by sharing the weakness of the cross (2 Cor 13:4). We deliver the oppressed by walking in the steps of the crucified Savior.

Prayer:  Jesus, show me how Your Incarnation applies to my life. Teach me what You taught St. Francis and Mother Teresa.

Promise:  "When the ark of the Lord arrived in the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth resounded." —1 Sm 4:5

Praise:  George had to "tighten his belt" and swallow his pride before he could trust his business to Jesus.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape on Jesus' Incarnation on audio AV 52-3 or video V-52.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 19, 2005

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