“Kiss the leper.” Luke 17: 11-19

There is a story about Francis of Assisi. He was praying to God, and God said to him, “Francis, if you want to know my will, you must hate and despise all that which you now enjoy and possess. Once you do this, the things that you once ignored or repulsive, things you once thought were beneath you, these things will bring you contentment and encouragement.”

Some days later, Francis was riding near Assisi when he met up with a group of lepers. The horrible sight of these poor sufferers overpowered him. Making a great effort, he dismounted and gave the lepers some money. Then, Francis bent over and kissed the lepers’ hands. The lepers returned this mark of respect by each one embracing Francis with the sign of peace.

Friends, Francis shows us a sure path to heaven: be grateful for all things, big and small, appreciate who you are in the sight of God and what a gift you have been for others and kiss the leper no matter how he appears to you; or whenever. Embrace him with the sign of peace.