October 13/14, 2007
From Weakness to Wholeness
But first let us try to understand
leprosy. How do you understand leprosy? (Wait for responses.)
Leprosy consists of a range
of several things. It may be a real Leprosy. But there is
another kind of leprosy, which is found all over the world.
It is the lack of appreciation or gratitude for what God had
done for us, or for people who make a difference in our life. Thats
the worst kind of leprosy. When your spouse puts you down and make you
feel like a piece of wood, thats leprosy. There is nothing worse
than being considered worthless.
Unfortunately, we judge, we
condemn! I have told you my story before about my lovely daughter, Anastasia.
I have known her as my daughter since December, 1998 when I went home
for my Thanksgiving Mass after my ordination in Gravelbourg on Saturday
June 20, 1998. I have lived with Anastasia as father and daughter since
And I am glad he didnt. I am glad he did not accept that resignation letter. Perhaps he wanted me to face my deficiency and see how I can come out through that, how I could find healing through that. He wanted to help, but unfortunately some of my brother priests said, No. And that is the pain I carry and I am hoping that some day I will see the light again and let go of this pain.
We all have deficiencies, but
they should not send us into Hades; they should rather make us strong;
they should rather motivate us to stay in the light of Jesus, so that
others may draw courage from us. In fact how we deal with our leprosies
is what makes us strong. For
We all have our crosses
but these do not have to make us weak; they should rather make us strong.
Indeed, when we identify and
accept our defeat, our tragedies and our inadequacies in life as did Naaman
and St. Paul, we are able to spiritualise our activities, attitudes
and behaviours, and we are able to reach perfection. In other words,
we must not and cannot run away from our struggles, weakness, tragedies
and deficiencies. Whether we are suffering physically, mentally, emotionally,
spiritually or intellectually - we must not run away. But how do we run
away? How do we get over our leprosies, our pains, our fears
My dear people in Christ, when humility is amiss, pride takes over our whole being and as Bob Marley alluded to, We stumble and fall - big time! Bob Marley rose from the dumps of poverty and through expression in music, embraced Jesus philosophy of justice and peace, equality and respect for human dignity. Like Naaman and Paul and other great people, when we seem distressed, we must run from the doors of humiliation, of disgrace, of ridicule - of public gossip to the doors of salvation where we shall be transformed - just as Naaman, the leper and Paul ran to the Prophet Elisha and Jesus and were transformed.
What is your pain? I ask you
now to sit straight, your back firmly against the pew and think about
your leprosy this week.
I am praying that as we partake of this Eucharist, we can place ourselves at the foot of Jesus just like Naaman, just like the leper, just like Paul - so that Jesus may become our source and model of deeper relationship with God in order that we may find that inner happiness and peace in our heart. My hope is that no matter how deep our leprosy is - no matter what our deficiency is, we may nevertheless come to Jesus to be healed - completely!
Father John-Baptist Okai