6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Published on Feb 11th, 2012 by Austin Keith | 0

As a young priest, part of my assignment included hospital visitation. For a period of several
months, I was given the honor of walking on the last journey with a young woman dying with
leukemia. Our first meetings began with much hope as she received her first bone marrow
transplant; however, very soon her body rejected it. Unfortunately, she died prior to a new
procedure; spending the last 4 months in isolation, touched only through gloved hands. Prior to
the funeral, the family gave me the journal that she kept while she was still able to write. She
described how she longed to be touched and held without gowns and gloves. She spoke of how
she felt when being taken for procedures, the elevator rides where people stared down at her
in her wheelchair, eyes registering pity, fear, even horror. She spoke of being a real outcast in
her own body. Her name was Libby.

Our story in St. Mark’s Gospel today depicts Jesus’ encounter with a man afflicted with leprosy.
Jesus touched him, Jesus healed him. Was this the first touch for our afflicted friend? How long
had it been since anyone dared to do that? With that touch, the man was made whole. How
could he ever be kept quiet again?

Let us never fail to recognize the importance of a touch; a smile at a stranger, an understanding
glance, a smile. You never know, one day that stranger might be you!

God Bless You,
Father John