The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Finding God on Gannon’s Campus

The upcoming week’s readings and Gospel are directed toward healing and the need to establish a sense of love and commitment to the lepers.

Who are the lepers of the world? Who are the ones that we cast out or distance ourselves from to enable ourselves to have a superior sense of worth and value?  What good can come from sending that message to the leper?

Our society seems to have a standard that we hold members to, and if they do not meet those criteria then there is a penalty.

The separation of the members of our community may bring the outcast person a sense of pain, hate and unhappiness or even the desperate act of suicide.

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I can remember watching a movie recently, “The Laramie Project,” and I recall the hate that caused the death of Matthew Shepherd, a 22-year-old man who was murdered for being gay. He was killed because people did not want to look at the leper; they would much rather yell “unclean, unclean” and drive them away in to a state of shame and hurt.

Shepherd was a young, intelligent college student who was loved by all who met him.  I recall the classmates’ remarks about how he would just brighten up the day or make the room glow when he entered because of his positive attitude.

Matthew was Catholic and dedicated his life to serving others in the community and loved to be around people.

He was brutally murdered by two men who met Matthew at a local bar.  The two men claimed that Matthew “hit” on them and they wanted to “teach him a lesson.”

The two men beat Matthew and took him to a remote part of town to a hill and hung him on a fence post and left him there to die.

A classmate found Matthew, who was  taken to a hospital where he died four days later as a result of the injuries he sustained during the beating.

The message and the understanding of the time was that the person should be quarantined, set apart from the rest of the world so as not to pollute the clean people.

Has that message truly changed?

What are we afraid of?  It was interesting that the young man in the documentary who played Matthew said his mother was upset and could not believe that he would play the part of the gay man in the performance.

What was interesting, the young man noted, was that his mother never said a word when he played Macbeth, a character who murders for the sake of protecting his interests.

I can see how she overlooked the big picture in her fear and ignorance and was not able to see the message, “perfect love cast out all fear.”

How does that message get to us at Gannon University?  “Who are the lepers I cast out?”  The mission we are entrusted with is the care of people who are around us every day and that will include lepers. In fact, we too are lepers, yet our dear Lord doesn’t cast us off.

Whatever place in life we are commissioned to after our life at Gannon is completed, we are hopeful that the diverse experience of our academic tenure here proved to be the rock in which we stand firm in the world.

The community that we are part of at this university is based on the Gospel and teaching of Christ who “reconciled the world to himself so that all may be saved” and in doing so brings a new meaning to the world and how to be Christ for each other.

When the leper approaches us, will we respond as Christ did and “stretch out our hand” and heal them with the love of Christ? Or will we stretch out their hand and put a nail in it?

When I think of a 22-year-old man beaten beyond recognition and hung on a post on a hill for no reason other than he was different and people feared him, it’s no different than when a 33-year-old man died some 2,000 years ago on a post on a hill because he was different and feared.


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