Sheep and Goats

Nobody likes to get sick. We try as hard as we can to avoid getting sick, we use disinfectant sprays and wipes, we take vitamins and other supplements daily, and we even try to avoid those who are sick. However we may try not to get sick, almost inevitably, we do, indeed, get sick. The scriptures today, in a sense, deal with the “sickness” that comes with the human condition and sin. The Psalmist tells us, “Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.” The word of God forms and molds us into who we are meant to be. When we fail to live up to that word, it takes away God’s Spirit and life within us.

The word of Jesus in the gospel today is simply to love each other as God loves and to become the person we are meant to be. When we fail to love, we lose faith in God and love for him and our fellow man. It is then when we become sick and need Christ’s healing grace. In the first reading from Leviticus, we see the natural order of what NOT to do. All the “shall not(s)” had to be given to the people of Israel because humanity had stopped following the natural law of God written on their hearts. Because God desired them, and all humanity, to be holy and healthy he gave them the law in preparation for his Son, the messiah. Now that the messiah has come and with his Spirit currently finishing his work of love, we have been given the grace to follow the new law of love. There is nothing we can do to merit this healing grace; all we can do is sit back and let the Good Shepherd and Divine Physician give us the shot, the vaccine of his mercy, love and grace. Then we, who are called to love as he loved, will be able to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the imprisoned, doing so not for the natural good in and of themselves, but on supernatural level – filled with the grace of Spirit and life. This vaccine of grace has the ability to build on the bad habits of our nature, to make us more like the sheep from the gospel. This should enliven each of us with such a hope for the good that we may walk each day by faith slowly transforming into “divine lovers” who more and more out of habit supernaturally feed those in our community who are hungry and visit the strangers and sick in our lives, all for the sake of the kingdom. All we need to do is give ourselves over to the Lord and receive his daily shot of grace – healing us with true Spirit and life.