I always think of St. Francis of Assisi when I hear this Gospel (Mk 1:40-45). In it Jesus heals a leper, but he did it by actually touching him. St. Francis found lepers of his day particularly repulsive, his biographer reported, and one day, inspired by this very Scripture, he kissed one. The context of the way lepers had to live in Jesus’ day, outcast from society so that no one ever touched them, is set for us in our first reading from Leviticus. I am fortunate to know people in my parish who reach out to the homeless. Several recently helped with the homeless count. Others cook at sites that provide meals; still others take food they prepare to homeless encampments on weekends when sites are closed. One woman helps with the Saturday homeless showers at the neighboring Methodist church. They all touch the homeless, the lepers of today, who live on the fringes of our society. The best I can do is to not avoid the doors of stores where they beg, and occasionally give a small gift. This week I thank God for my home and for the many people who try every day to help the homeless!
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia