February 12, 2012, Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Why did Jesus tell the healed leper not to tell anyone about the miracle in this Gospel? Would this not be good publicity for the coming of the Kingdom and the power of God working through Jesus?
Let’s take a closer look. There are several steps on the road to holiness and union with God. First there is belief. This leper has that. He believes Jesus can fix him. Believers next tend to ask God for things. It is petitionary prayer. We ask for things we think are good. It really is saying, “God, give me what I want.” My will, not God’s, be done. This leper moves beyond that. He says if it is Jesus’ will, then the man would like to be cured. This is saying, “Your will, not mine be done.” This is Jesus in Gethsemane before his trial and crucifixion. Not many of us get to this level of asking for God’s will in our wants.
Jesus is impressed with this fellow, I am sure. He takes pity on him, touches the leper and says, “I will it. Be cured.” Now for the next step on the road to holiness. Don’t make yourself the message. Christ is the message. If this fellow goes around telling people all about what happened, he might become the center of attention, get a fat ego, and become full of himself. Jesus does not want this temptation to affect the spiritual growth taking place in the man made clean.
For us, we want our lifestyle, our example of how we live according to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, to be what attracts others to Jesus and the Kingdom. Don’t point to ourselves. Let our life point to God. It is attraction not promotion that Jesus asks for in the leper, and in each of us.