The inconvenience, discomfort, sadness, and pain we may feel if we open our hearts and pay attention to what is happening in and to the world around us are the only real antidote to indifference, because those feelings should call us to action.
We know that we all have a “rebellious lower nature” inside of us, an instinctual impulse towards mediocrity, hedonistic pleasure, self-justification, etc. When we give ourselves the chance, we recognize that our character flaws control us more than we prefer.
In this culture of faux freedoms, God is calling us back to Himself. We are free to choose to follow Him or not, but we are not free to choose the consequence of that choice. Only in choosing to follow Christ do our hearts find the answer to our deepest longings.
Lent invites us into the desert. As the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert, so the Spirit drives us into that same place of peace filled scarcity. We live a simpler, more reflective life hoping to confront the demons that bind us to our weakness and imperfections.
According to Leviticus, skin diseases, as well as scars and burns, render persons unclean. What is at stake here is the question of contagion and the health of the community. Because of their condition, the sick person was ostracized from the community.
The tranquil soul is one free of the anxieties described by St. Paul and the unclean spirits described in the Gospel. But this tranquility of soul is not a cheap quality; it must be earned through daily disciplines of prayer, fasting, and repentance.
Sometimes it’s easy to want to know what will happen next. It helps us feel in control. The readings this weekend invite us to a different path, however, one where we are invited to say “yes” to the One who loves us, even if we don’t know all the answers.
Andrew’s willingness to evangelize brought Peter to become a disciple of the Lord. Andrew’s love for Peter moved him to share the truth and joy he had found. How blessed to have someone care enough to step out in faith and share the life found only in Jesus.