In Jesus’ time, persons with any sort of visible skin lesions were considered lepers and were outcasts from society. Imagine yourself during your adolescence when you probably experienced some degree of acne. Or imagine yourself as a senior with diabetes who suffers with skin lesions that prove to be incurable. Fortunately today, you are not regarded as unclean and treated as outcasts and isolated from society. You are not considered a leper.
Most of us have encountered people who are often considered to be “lepers”, be they chronic alcoholics, substance abusers, persons with AIDS, persons who live alternative or unconventional lifestyles, developmentally or physically disabled, homeless, etc. A modern day leper might even be a family member guilty of crossing the line of popularly acceptable behavior or a coworker who seems not to get along. These children of God are sometimes and too frequently treated as outcasts, perhaps mocked or shunned, unwelcomed, misunderstood.
During his time on Earth, Jesus reached out, welcomed and ministered to the needs of all the “lepers”; any who would approach and ask for help. We are called by Our Lord to do the same—to love all and to reach out and to treat with compassion those who are alienated or seem to need help, even at the risk of ourselves being rejected for consorting with a “leper.”
No act of kindness or compassion or understanding is too small. There are countless ways of ministering to the lepers among us.
First: Love them.
Second: Ad infinitum.
Finally: Be as Christ.