Monday, October 14, 2013

The world watched with incomprehension as the story unfolded of the killing of children in an Amish schoolhouse in the little town of Nickel Mines in Lancaster County. Unseen by most was an act of grace the secular media could never understand: down the path leading to the home where the widow of the killer still quivered in shock, Amish women brought food, gifts, and consolation — not revenge. “You too lost a loved one,” they said as they went out with grace and compassion to the woman whose husband had murdered their children.

The gospel narrative at Mass today puts us in touch with ten lepers. As we meet them, we are struck by the very language of their introduction: they stood in place, calling out from a distance. They were locked , frozen, immobile, standing in place. The first direction Jesus offers them? “Go.” Leave the place that has captured you in your pain and fear and hurt. Move beyond yourself, get outside of yourself, look beyond yourself. Go to someone else.

Each of us has pains and hurts and fears. We may be tempted to stay in place, locked in place when the memories of hurt come forth. It may be easier to stay put in life and vow never to be hurt again, the memory of hurts and fears becoming prison walls. To us Jesus offers the same challenge: “Go.” Look around: there’s a great big world filled with people in need. Go to them. Don’t stay locked inside, fixed in place and captured by self-centered ideas and memories. Go beyond yourself and get outside your hurts. Be a vehicle of grace and compassion for others who are hurting and in pain. Be whom God created you to be.
October 13, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

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