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“UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN”

 

As students of theology, we were sent to different ministries for experience during our summer vacation. We used to call it a summer exposure program. As oblate scholastics, we had the opportunity to explore a different kind of ministries like prison ministry, HIV and AIDS ministry, parochial ministry, youth ministries.

 

When I was doing my 1st year of theology, I was sent to work in the Leprosy Rehabilitation Centre for a month in Bengaluru, India. My main work was there to help the nurses to clean the wounds, ulcers and apply medication. It was painful and hard for me even to see the deep sores, ulcers, skin lesions, physical deformities and nursing them. What pained me during my stay with them was how they were treated by society - us. They were ostracized, expelled from homes and towns, they did not have a place to go, elderly parents were neglected, their children were not accepted in schools because of fear of transmission, scared to employ them, and were segregated from society. Imagine the pain these people would have to go through every day in their lives. it is no different from the time of Jesus. Leprosy was regarded as impure and understood as the punishment of God. 

 

The first reading gives us the background of the sad state of lepers in Palestinian society. When leprosy was identified in a man or woman, he or she had to live alone (Leviticus 13:46).  Lepers were expelled from the city. Everywhere they went they had to shout out loud, “Unclean, unclean!” (Leviticus 13:45). The Talmud (the Jewish oral law) required that a leper had to stay six feet away from other people and 150 feet when there was the wind. According to the Mishnah, anyone who touched a leper, was near a leper, touched anything that a leper had touched, or entered his/her home was ceremonially unclean. As a result, the Jewish rabbis avoided lepers.

 

In this context, we are invited to read this passage of Jesus healing the leper.  We can see how Jesus moved with compassion when he heard the cry of the leper, ‘’Lord, if You are willing, you can make me clean’’. He ignores the Mosaic Law prohibiting him from touching a leper, stretches out his hands, and touches him saying “I am willing; be cleansed.” Jesus’ compassion moved Him to act and do something for this man. He touches him and heals him. That leper was given a brand-new life at that very moment.

 

Grant R. Osborne a theologian and New Testament scholar calls this act the 'love hermeneutic’ that is the willingness to break Jewish taboos to help the suffering. We perceive Jesus’ willingness to touch and show compassion to all those who have been rejected, abandoned, and forgotten. As followers of Christ, we need to have this attitude of willingness: willingness to show compassion towards the outcast, abandoned, rejected, and forgotten. Like Jesus let us reach out and touch the poor and the needy in our midst. Besides, the Lord invites each of us to feel our own needs and to ask for his healing touch. Like the leper, may we turn to Jesus in faith and let our lives proclaim his gifts of mercy, forgiveness, and spiritual rebirth.


By Arokia Vijay Deivanayagam, OMI
Vocation Team – Central                                                                                                                                  Phone: (431) 373-6342
Email: vijayreia@gmail.com


 





GOD CONTINUES TO CALL

 “The Lord heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147: 3

 

The Psalm used in this weekend’s liturgy praises God for the compassion, tenderness and care God shows Israel. It also expresses, in the poetic language of the Psalms, what we see of Jesus’ ministry in the Gospel. His proclamation of the Good News is accompanied by healing and forgiveness – Jesus heals the broken-hearted, binds their wounds, lifts up the downtrodden and shares with everyone he encounters the beauty and joy of God’s love.

 Our world today stands in need of the compassion, tenderness and love of God. For the poor, the homeless, those with mental and emotional illness and those on the margins the pandemic has made their situation even more precarious. We also recognize that large numbers of people are subjected to racism, homophobia, ageism, and discrimination of many kinds.

 Just as Jesus reached out to those least touched by the society and institutional religion of their day he continues to call disciples to follow his example and be instruments of God’s compassion, tenderness and care. Two hundred and five years ago St. Eugene de Mazenod and Fr. Henri Tempier responded to that call and the seeds that grew into the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate were planted. God still calls men and women to live the Oblate charism of “proclaiming Good News to the poor” as vowed religious and Oblate Associates. Just as it did in post-Revolution France, the world today is in need of people to live that charism and help transform our world. Is God calling you to “heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds”?

 By Richard Beaudette, OMI                                                                                                                                                       Vocation Team – East                                                                                                                                                                     613-806-3435                                                                                                                                                    Vicar1@omilacombe.ca


 



Vocation Reflection: “Call to Conversion and Vocation”
By Susai Jesu OMI - Vocation Team (Contact West)
"Jesus proclaims conversion. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe in the Gospel.” Jesus calls his first apostles. “Follow me and I will make you fishers of people.” These two moments - of conversion and vocation - have a determining importance in the life of every Christian. The whole purpose of life and salvation develops inwardly in every Christian.” 

Read the reflection here: https://omilacombe.ca/become-an-oblate/ 

 

Thank you for praying for and encouraging vocations to the Oblate religious life!

Jarek Pachocki OMI
OMI Lacombe Canada - Vocation Director


 



Vocation Reflection: “Encounters - A Journey of Faith”
By Jarek Pachocki OMI - Vocation Director
"In the Gospel this weekend we witness the first meeting between Jesus and three of the men who later became his Apostles – Peter, Andrew and John. It’s clear that they had a wonderful encounter. (…) One meeting with Jesus, and they were captivated by him. He gave them as much time as they wanted. They found him warm, friendly, welcoming and very compassionate. They knew they had met a remarkable person, and an extraordinary friendship was born.” 
Read the reflection here: https://omilacombe.ca/become-an-oblate/ 

Also a kind reminder, please INVITE personally to “ZOOM and See" young men who might be interested in the missionary religious life. There is no obligation nor commitment there… Just ZOOM and See!

https://omilacombe.ca/january-25-2021-zoom-see-courage-walk-footsteps-apostles/ 

 

Thank you for praying for and encouraging vocations to the Oblate religious life!

Jarek Pachocki OMI
OMI Lacombe Canada - Vocation Director


 



Vocation Reflection: “Baptism - a call to ’newness’ and ‘mission'”
By Arokia Vijay Deivanayagam OMI - Vocation Team
"This feast of the baptism of our Lord reminds us of this unique and personal Christian vocation and our role as members of His body, the Church. We are sent forth from the baptismal waters to ‘’walk always as a child of light’’ and keep the flame of faith alive in our hearts. We are called to witness to our baptisms in our lives.” 
Read the reflection here: https://omilacombe.ca/become-an-oblate/ 

Also kindly reminder, please INVITE personally to “ZOOM and See" young men who might be interested in the missionary religious life. There is no obligation nor commitment there… Just ZOOM and See!

https://omilacombe.ca/january-25-2021-zoom-see-courage-walk-footsteps-apostles/ 


 




Vocation Reflection: “God’s Favoured Ones”
By Serena Shaw - Vocation Team
"I believe we often don’t understand that by doing what is best for our community, we will make the best decision for ourselves. This is how we will be most fulfilled; by using our gifts and talents to serve our brother and sisters. I truly believe we are all God’s favoured ones, maybe not in the way that Mary was, in that she could carry the Son of God, but favored in how he loves us unconditionally. And so, my hope is that we can quit ignoring what we are called to, and that we take the time to hear what is being asking of us so that we can find our vocation and say yes to God.” 
Read the reflection here: https://omilacombe.ca/become-an-oblate/

 

Vocation Reflection: “John the Baptist: The Witness Who Summons All to Faith in Jesus”                                            By Susai Jesu OMI - Vocation Team

"The Oblate vocation is a call to be a voice in the wilderness of our confused world as was John. But Oblates are to be more concerned with salvation than judgement which was the witness of Jesus. In this way we will disappoint some and delight others.  But the more that we are seeking God and the kingdom we will taste in this life joy of which is to come. Above all the Oblate vocation is to stand with people in the wilderness and not against them.” 
Read the reflection here: https://omilacombe.ca/become-an-oblate/




Vocation Reflection: “Advent - An Invitation to Wait on God”
By Vijay Deivanayagam OMI - Vocation Team
"The word “wait” comes from the Hebrew ‘qavah’ which means enduring patiently in the confident hope that God will act decisively for the salvation of his people… Those who wait in true faith are renewed with strength so that they can continue to serve the Lord while looking for his saving work.” 
Read the reflection here: https://omilacombe.ca/become-an-oblate/






Vocation Reflection: “Echoes of Our Charism”
By Richard Beaudette OMI - Vocation Team
"We are invited to know Christ more deeply in relationship with his beloved poor. Falling in love with Christ in the poor and with the poor in Christ will draw us into a deeper desire to serve him in and with the poor.”
Read the reflection here: https://omilacombe.ca/become-an-oblate/

Thank you for praying for and encouraging vocations to the Oblate religious life!



Vocation Reflection: “Love God and Neighbour”

By Arokia Vijay Deivanayagam, OMI - Vocation Team - Central

"God, Neighbour, Self cannot be separate – we are all one in this powerful, mysterious, and creative energy called LOVE. Therefore, love of God and love of neighbour are inseparable and relational. One of them cannot be accomplished without the other, for he who loves God, loves neighbours (1 John 4:20).”
Read the reflection here: https://omilacombe.ca/become-an-oblate/




Vocation Reflection: “Unlikely Instruments of God’s Love”

By Richard Beaudette, OMI - Vocation Team

"Jesus continues to call people to discipleship and mission today. I believe that he is still calling disciples to the vowed life and priesthood as well as all the other vocations. No matter what the call might be for each of us individually we need to trust that God is choosing and calling us, unlikely instruments we might judge ourselves to be.”

Read the reflection here: https://omilacombe.ca/become-an-oblate/




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