Jesus touches and heals a leper
I watched the end of Sunday Morning Live on BBC 1 yesterday and was quite disappointed to hear the results of a poll. Viewers were asked to vote on whether or not the UK should allow Syrian refugees into the country. A massive 87% said that Syrian refugees should not be allowed into the UK.
It immediately struck me how much this goes against the grain of Christianity. I thought of Jesus and what his response would be to such a poll. I can’t speak for him but, given his obvious undying love for his brothers and sisters, I would have thought Jesus would never turn away someone who was in need.
Why then do so many people in the UK (assuming this poll is representative of the general UK view) wish to ignore the plight of these people?
Okay, so there will be arguments about why they are coming here in the first place; why can’t they just stay in Syria and work things out? Why can’t they stay in another country closer to home? Then there will be the classic ‘why should we pay for them to stay here?’
While some may feel these concerns are perfectly legitimate, I would argue that they are not.
This boils down to people in need. However they may have become needy or where the fault lies for that need having arisen is, for me, irrelevant. Only today’s society makes these issues relevant because today’s society is so full of greed and pride. There is very little consideration for other people so long as number one is being looked after.
We don’t need to think too much about why they are homeless or why they are poor. We don’t need to worry about how much it might impinge upon our comfortable little lives. These are people in need and we have the chance to show them some love.
The Christian message is simple. Put God first, others second, and yourself third. In today’s society living that Gospel message is difficult, it is hard; but it is what we are called to do. It’s what Jesus did throughout his ministry on earth. Pope Francis has said that we shouldn’t just help the poor by “setting up a foundation to help everyone.” The Pope suggested that this was important but we will only be philanthropic if we remain on that level. He said that we need to touch and kiss the wounds of our wounded brothers and sisters and recalled how St Francis was filled with joy after he embraced the leper; a leper no one else would go near because of his deformities and the stench he carried with him. Jesus too had no issue with touching lepers and showing them his healing love.
When we come face to face with the plight of the homeless; forced to flee from their homes through war, we have two options. We either love them as Jesus would; or we refuse them, thus defying Jesus’ instruction to ‘love one another as I have loved you’.