That Man Is You
The Gospels are a mirror
in which each of us may see [ourselves],
not merely reflected
but exposed and denounced.
The trouble is 
we generally use it 
to look at the other fellow
and turn away incensed that he can be so stupid,
so malicious,
so blind.*

Louis Evely, in his beautiful reflection on the Gospels, That Man Is You, offers this concise summary of his thesis. The Gospels are about us. No other single work had a more profound impact on me and my preaching than that spiritual classic. I would contend that it remains a profound method for making the Word of God come alive in our daily lives.

His thesis flows from that ancient story of King David and the prophet Nathan in the Second Book of Samuel, in which the prophet challenges the King with a story which indicts the King for this adulterous and murderous actions. (2 Samuel 12:1-7a) Like David, we are invited to see ourselves in the stories of Sacred Scripture. Today’s sacred stories are clearly a case in point.

We are the leper,
contaminated by 
our own frail humanity 
and by the enticing addictions of our culture:
rampant materialism,
blatant consumerism in the face of radical poverty,
subtle but incessant racism, 
gratuitous violence accepted as a solution to every conflict.

We live in a world so conflicted that it isolates and alienates: 
one Nation under God is divided into red states and blue states;
and the Body of Christ repeatedly broken by "liberal vs conservative." 

We are the leper --  
we seek wholeness, to be made clean – 
to be set free from
our personal compulsions,
from society’s hypnotic control,
from the Church’s rupturing divisions.

Like the leper, we ask to be made whole – to be cleansed.
“Lord, if you will it…”
“Of course I will it!”

In this Eucharist we come with all our brokenness, our frailty;
and we are offered not just healing – 
but to become what we receive – the healing presence of the Christ;
not just healed, but transformed into healers.

Paul offers a blueprint for the fulfillment of this transformation:
           "Give no one offense – be imitators of Christ."

This is the point at which we should go a step further 
in testing Evely’s thesis, 
by accepting the challenge to see ourselves as Jesus himself,
being sought after by those in need:
the weak, the most marginalized and alienated.

Like Jesus we should willingly, even enthusiastically, respond 
to the request of those who ask to be healed.
Like Jesus, the risk involved should not stay our willing hand
to reach out and touch the pain of another.

We, like Jesus, walk among the poor, the broken
because they are the ones who need us.
Like Jesus, the politically powerful and the prestigious, 
even religious leaders, will often stand in our way,
because we respond to the appeal of those in need,
even” tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners”!

To Paul's blueprint,
the Psalmist offers a process: 
            I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, 
           and you fill me with the joy of salvation.

By acknowledging our own frail humanity,
we rejoice in God’s mercy and compassion 
so we might bring his justice to our time.

Through the Sacred Story proclaimed today,
we see ourselves as the leper
who seeks healing,
who spreads the Good News of his transformation,
and who, in fact, becomes a DISCIPLE.

Through the Sacred Story proclaimed today,
we also see ourselves as imitators of the Christ,
willingly, even enthusiastically, reaching out to those in need,
and offering a healing touch as Jesus did. 

Because in this Eucharist, his story becomes our story.

Thanks be to God!

* That Man Is You. Louis Evely.  New York: Newman Press, 1964.  
Out of print, but may be available over the Internet.
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time  ~  B

Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46       ~        Psalm Ps 32:1-2, 5, 11       ~     1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1        ~        Mark 1:40-45  




Sabbath Reflections 
through the week...

  Where is your story in
  the Sacred Story today?

  What "contaminates" 
  your spirit?

  The leprosy of Jesus' day
  marginalized its victims.
  What in today's society
  or church marginalizes?
  How can you be Jesus to 
  that "leprosy"?

  What would you ask to be
   healed of?

  Once healed how can you
  become a healer?