The lepers were estranged. They had to live outside the community. They were isolated, apart from others. As long as they had the sores of leprosy, they were not able to live with their families.
That must have been a terribly tragic and lonely existence, calling out “unclean, unclean” everywhere they went. They were avoided by all, except Jesus.
Jesus does not fear leprosy, nor does he fear the lepers. He is moved with pity. He stretched out his hand and touched the sores. In touching them, he healed them. Jesus made the leper clean.
After Jesus heals the leper in the gospel of today, what happens? He says, “Go show yourself to the priest.” Why?
The priest has the power to declare the leper clean. Once the leper was declared clean, that person was then able to return to the community.
So Jesus brings those who are outside back into the community. Jesus desires for those who are excluded to be included again.
Sometimes we find ourselves on the outside, on the fringe, excluded for any number of reasons.
Maybe we are excluded because of our race or skin color, or our religious beliefs, or our sexual orientation, or our political views, or even our physical appearance.
Jesus doesn’t want this. Jesus wants us all to be included. Jesus doesn’t want these divisions.
Yet we continue to divide ourselves into camps of us and them. And this continues to cause strife and even social unrest.
That’s one of the reasons why we try so hard here at Saint Martin de Tours to make sure everyone feels welcomed, to make sure everyone feels wanted, to make sure everyone feels like they belong.
Jesus comes to heal sin and division. Jesus wants those who are estranged to be brought back.
We all need to feel like we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. We all need to feel like we belong. Otherwise, we are like the lepers who are forced to live apart from everyone.
The lepers were estranged but Jesus healed them so that they could return to the community. Jesus desires to heal whatever is keeping us from community.
Jesus wants us all to belong. Jesus wants us all to feel like we are important members of his family.