Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Confirmation I and II: October 10, 2010: The Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Read the Gospel: Lk 17:11-19

Journal: How did you live out last week’s Gospel message? What was tough? What was rewarding?

I know a young man who started high school sure he wouldn’t fit in. He remembered how kids made fun of him in junior high. He remembered they always chose him last for teams. He felt so out of place there that he doubted he’d fit in anywhere. I wish he was rare. But there are many teens that feel like outcasts. They find it hard to fit in with friends because of weight, acne, insecurity, the wrong clothes … the list goes on. You might feel that way now.
That’s why this week’s Gospel is so important. The Samaritan leper was a double outcast. First, he was a leper. Leprosy in the Gospel isn’t the disease that causes limbs to decay. It caused flaky or scaly skin. The Jewish religious laws told Jewish people to avoid contact with people who had it or appeared to have it. The Samaritan was also outcast because of his ethnic background. Many Jews rejected Samaritans because they descended from Jews who married non-Jews.
Notice how Jesus reacted to those outcasts. He stopped, noticed their pain, and healed them. That means they could now fit in. People would welcome them. Care about them.
Also notice that the Samaritan was the only one who returned to thank Jesus. Jesus took note that only this “foreigner” seemed grateful.
The point for us?
First, if you feel like you don’t fit in anywhere, call out to Jesus for help like the lepers in the Gospel. Call out through prayer. Call out by talking to an adult who you trust. Call out by getting involved in serving other people who suffer. You’ll find that he’ll answer your prayers. You’ll find a place to fit in and friends who care.
Second, Jesus points out that the Samaritan, the double out-cast, shows more faith than anyone. That means we all need to respect and learn from the people we think don’t fit in.

Journal: Have you ever felt like an outcast or reached out to someone who felt that way? Talk openly about it. How did you feel? What happened? What did you do in your situation? Looking back, what would you have done or said differently? Be specific.

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