When I was a missionary in Guayaquil, Ecuador, I would work once a week amongst the people who suffered from Hansen ’s disease (Leprosy).
This infectious disease is found in the tropics amongst the very poor who usually manifest severe malnutrition. It is treatable today and yet we still find people suffering from Hansen’s in areas of the world where poverty is at first stage level. This stage is where no sanitation, poor water supply and malnutrition are rife.
The disease can leave people disfigured. The disfiguring skin sores, lumps or bumps (multibacillary leprosy) can be very distressing for these people.
It was always very sad to see young, beautiful women and men hiding away from family and friends because of their disfigurement.
Gaining the confidence of these people who suffer such shame and pain is the first step to recovery.
Like Jesus in the Gospel of today, we are called to be people of mercy and love. To bring confidence and respect to those who suffer other forms of isolation and rejection due to mental illness, physical disability and old age.
Our call is to go out and begin the contact that will bring those who feel abandoned to realise they are not alone and are welcomed to be part of our community.
The marginalised are very special to Christ.
God love you