The Leper, who comes to Jesus in today’s Gospel (Mark 1:40-45,) is often seen as an embodiment of those who are the “untouchables” of our society (the poor, the weak, the unwed mother, the addict.) The Leper, in another view, is one who is “outside the camp”. The leper is the one cut off from worship and cut off from community.
In the United States today, the Leper is 75% of those who call themselves Catholic, yet no longer celebrate Mass or practice their Faith. No matter the reason that they left the Church (disbelief, anger, lifestyle, boredom), they are now “outside the camp.”
The tragedy is that our worship, while directed to God, has an effect on us. Worship orders the one who worships. Worship grounds the worshiper once again in the Truth of Who it is he worships. It prepares a man for battle, so to speak. “Happy the people that know the joyful shout!” (Psalm 89:16) Without worship, the World becomes the voice that lies to him, tempts him and in the end may even conquer him.
The poor and the weak are in the Lord’s camp. The true outsider is one Jesus calls home. “I do will it. Be made clean.” (Mark 1:41)