Thursday, January 15, 2009

Today's Gospel (from Mark) starts out with a dramatic cure: a leper approaches Jesus, falls to his knees and makes the strking act of faith, "If you will it, you can cure me." And Jesus does will it. With a word and a touch, Jesus heals the leper. And then gives him the impossible command: "Tell no one."
Not only is the healed man totally incapable of obeying, he is amazingly effective in proclaiming what Jesus did for him. Read the passage (Mark 1:40-45). That leper must have been one of Malcom Gladstone's "salesmen" (see "The Tipping Point"): a real networker, he "began to publicize the whole matter"; "he spread the report abroad so that...people kept coming to Jesus from everywhere." (An unintended result of this successful proclamation was that other lepers were unable to approach Jesus as discreetly as he had...)
Would that we today were as effective in drawing people to Jesus! Maybe we would be, if we could be more in touch, on a daily basis, with what Jesus is constantly doing for us. We would say, as the leper must have, and as the Apostles did after the Resurrection, "Surely we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."


Soutenus said...

I never got this story. I mean, I understand the faith and the healing. But if JESUS tells you not to do something . . . why does everyone take it so lightly when the guy disobeys? I have heard it explained that Jesus knew the healed man would never be able to keep it to himself. But that is setting him up for disobeying. Jesus wouldn't say something and mean the opposite OR set someone up for failure, would he? I just do not get that part of the story.

xaipe said...

At least in this case, the silencing of the cured man is part of Mark's "secret": Jesus is not revealed as the Son of God until after his death, when the centurion makes the solemn pronouncement that "seals" the Gospel. (Mark begins with "the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" and ends shortly after the centurion's "Surely this was the Son of God.") I think our culture reads the command as a solemn injunction, whereas in the Gospel it is a strategy Mark uses to insist that Jesus's identity could only really be known after his death and resurrection.