The Valley Catholic February 6, 2018 - Page 9

tvc.dsj.org | February 6, 2018 Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose, and Vicar General for Special Projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at bmcguire@dsj.org. One day a woman, Rosemary, a mother of two children, volunteered to manage the homeless kitchen for the day. She took her two little boys with her and had them play in the kitchen as she worked. The homeless were delighted to be there and have shelter from the cold, all but one young woman. She was terrified. When she came to the food counter, she only asked for one plate. When Rosemary inquired about her child she said, “No; he is petrified after what has happened.” They had just escaped from an abusive house- hold and only managed to get out with the clothes on their back. Rosemary suggested that maybe she might allow her boy play with her two kids in the kitchen. The young mother reluctantly agreed. Rosemary’s five-year-old son was the same age as this young boy and had received a brand-new pair of sneakers for Christmas. The homeless boy said, “Hey they are really cool shoes.” The other boy said, “Yeah. Maybe you could get your mother to get you a pair.” The homeless boy’s eyes looked downcast and the conversation ended. Later Rosemary explained to her son that the boy’s mother would not be able to afford shoes because they just became homeless; they have no home and they have no place to go. After some thought, Alex asked, “Would you carry me to the car?” “Why?” asked Rosemary. “Because I want to give my new sneakers to the boy and I do not want to walk in the rain with no shoes. He needs my shoes so that he can feel more like home.” Alex took off his shoes and socks and he gave them to the boy, who smiled brightly, delighted to get this small gift. In today’s Gospel, the leper says “…if you will it, you can make me clean.” We do not see much leprosy in our society. But there are other types of “lepers” that we push to the outskirts so that we do not have to have them in our lives. It might be somebody who has hurt us profoundly, or maybe it is a homeless person that we would just rather not see. We want to keep them on the outskirts of our lives. Jesus shows us how to deal with those who are on the outskirts, untouchable. He did what was strictly forbidden. He reached out and touched the leper. Jesus could have done it without touching him but he deliberately reached out and touched him. Because the man tells everyone, Jesus is now the one who cannot go into any town. Jesus is the one who is on the outskirts. He, himself, replaces the person on the outskirts. When we decide to forgive somebody in the family, our family might push us to the outside. We might suffer the consequences for such an action. When we reach out to the homeless and those who are broken by life, we ourselves might be cast out. This week may we tend to that one “leper” in our life. Can we give something that we have so that someone who has less can have what they need? February 18, 2018 - Full Price for Everyone There was once a young boy who went to the pet store to adopt a dog. He asked the attendant, “How much is it for one of those dogs?” The attendant responded, “They are $50 or more depending on the size.” The boy dug his hand into his pocket and pulled out $1.47 and said, “Is this enough for the small one?” But the attendant said, “No. It’s not. You are going to have to save up and then come back.” The boy was dejected and started to walk away when he saw the other attendant coming out with a scrawny little dog that limped badly. The boy’s eyes lit up and he said, “How much for that dog?” And the attendant said, “That dog is really not for sale. He has a bad leg and will never be able to run properly; he is missing its hip socket.” The boy said, “He is perfect for me. I want him.” The attendant said, “If you want him, it is yours for free.” But the boy protested saying, “He is worth $50 just like all the others. I will give $ .50 a week until I pay it off.” The man was confused and says, “Why would you want this dog? He will not be able to run.” The boy pulls up one leg of his pants and shows the attendant his own leg which was twisted from birth with a big metal brace holding it straight. He says, “I’m not too good at running myself. We won’t be able to run together!” He took the dog home. 1 Jesus becomes human because God treasures every one of us and he will pay full price for us. No discount for the disabled human being. God pays the full price with Christ. Lent is a time for us to remind ourselves of this powerful message of Christ. In today’s scripture, we hear how Jesus is in the desert and is subject to Satan’s temptations. Jesus became one of us so that we would know that he took on the fullness of the human condition and was subject to the same temptations as we are. He showed us the way through them. The critical phrase here is “…the angels ministered to him.” God does not leave us alone in the desert. God does not leave us in those darkest moments of our lives to fend for ourselves. God did not do it to Christ and he most certainly is not going to do that to us. Lent is a time to refocus on the message of Christ and allow his angels to minister to us. Lent presents an opportunity for us to see God in all things, to recognize that we are all valued by God, especially the wounded and broken. There is no one that is crippled or broken in any way for whom Christ is not willing to pay the full price. We are God’s children, every single one of us. May we submit to the Spirit who allows us to recognize value of every single human life including our own. (Endnotes) 1 Adapted from Patricia Datchuck Sanchez, “Celebration: An Ecumenical Worship Resource,” (Kansas City, Missouri: National Catholic Reporter Company, Inc., February 26, 2012). The cost of living keeps going up. 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