"So clean...not a speck of dust. You are peculiar!"
An appropriate way for me to write my blog this 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time because it is also about cleanliness.
- Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of Elisha, the man of God.
His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child,
and he was clean of his leprosy. (2 Kings 5: 14)
- As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. (Luke 17: 14-16)
One message of the Gospel, is that it is perfectly find to be peculiar; Jesus, the prophets of the Old Testament, they never abandone the lepers. In the time of Christ and before his coming, lepers were shunned by society. Lepers were not allowed to mix around, and if we remember movies, lepers wore a mask.
I think the message for me, is how do I treat my peculiarity? How do I make use of my peculiarity? Am I aware of my peculiarity and have the guts to speak about, not against, my unique peculiarity? Do I listen to and respect the peculiarities of others, or do I despise them like lepers?
10 lepers were healed by Jesus Christ, only 1 returned back to express joy and gratitude.
When I look at my own relatives, family and friends I witness the similar pattern. When everything is good we become forgetful; we get lost, losing our sense of direction. The 9 who were healed but did not return to thank and rejoice with Jesus, must have been so caught up with good things - they no longer have leprosy - that they became blind. Once healed of the skin disease, the 9 ex-lepers no longer have to enclose themselves but freely mix around with society. They forget the way back to Jesus. The one leper who was healed, must have persevered along the way, remembering the person of Jesus and the direction to Jesus.
Do I remember Jesus? Do you remember Jesus?
The convict who was nailed to the cross next to Jesus, made this request : 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom'. Totally good if we make this request of remembrance upon our death bed and in bad times. Yes, we want, we force, we entreat, God - Jesus to remember us, to be merciful to us, to help us. Yet, so often I forget to be merciful to others, I forget God.
How often we find ourselves finding it so hard to sit down and discuss differences? How often people pretend to agree with others, only to later find out from different sources a different story? How often I have seen people feeling sad, because their work mates were not honest with their opinions? How often I see my school friends keeping to themselves, thinking that it is the best way to avoid conflict?
Each of us have our peculiarity - our individual differences. Learn to recognize it, speak about it and not against it. Learn to accept the peculiarities of each others, and together in our journey may we find healing.
Have we persevered in our remembrance of Jesus Christ? Have we persevered to preserve His commandments and live life in fullness of joy?
In short, have we persevered in keeping our sense of direction - the way that leads to Jesus?