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Where Is Your Molokai

Well done! You are an industrious and reliable servant. Since you were dependable in a small matter I will put you in charge of larger affairs. Come share your master's joy
Matthew 25:14-30 or 25:14-15,19-21

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Sermon Week Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 25:21


Damien DeVeuster was a Belgian Priest who gave his life to the care of lepers in the colony at Molokai, Hawaii. He died in eighteen hundred and eighty-nine at age forty-nine. Molokai is the island where lepers were sent to rot and die, literally. Partly as a carryover from the myths of those who lived in Biblical times, a leper was considered unclean and cursed and a person to be isolated from "clean" society. And for many years these unfortunate people were dispatched to Molokai where they were left to die in the most horrible conditions. Damien, as a young priest, felt that when Jesus said "You shall be witnesses in Judea and Samaria to the ends of the earth," it included the Island of Molokai. Nobody else, it seems, had figured that out yet. But Damien had. He asked his bishop for permission to move to the island and be with the people and do what he could. The bishop loved this young priest, a man of great promise, and he tried to argue him out of it. It didn't seem fitting that this young man with so much potential should throw himself away in that forsaken place. It was what someone later called "Holy Waste"-a beautiful phrase. But Damien persuaded the bishop and soon thereafter he entered the leper colony at Molokai. He said that in the early weeks he was often dreadfully sick to his stomach as he moved among the people and saw the horror of the conditions under which they were living. It was all he could do to force himself to stay in spite of his strong intention. But he went to work. First of all, he found up in the mountain a source of fresh water. And he was able to build a little system that would bring the fresh water down to the village. From this came the colony's first sanitation system. Then he showed the lepers how to build little houses to replace the flimsy shacks and hovels they had been living in. It was the colony's first housing project. He [...]

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