December 7, 2018
(St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread word of him through all that land. Mt_9:27-31
There’s something about the dynamics of these last two sentences of today’s Gospel that really makes us wonder. As a carry-over from Mark’s Gospel, Matthew and Luke will often quote Jesus as requesting secrecy after a healing. The Scripture scholars call this the “Messianic Secret.”
And it always bothered me, how almost always, immediately after the request, the healed person runs out and spills the beans. It just sounds like such a direct disobedience of Jesus, of God. It sounds like Adam and Eve all over again. And maybe its just God giving us another glimpse of our own human nature.
Yet, imagine if YOU were those blind people. Would it not be near impossible to go back home and make-believe that you were still blind, when, for the first time in your whole life – you could actually see! Would it not be near impossible not to SHOUT it out to the world! “I CAN SEE!!!” So why would Jesus ask anyone to
do such a difficult task?
The Scripture scholars confess that they really don’t know the exact reason for the Messianic Secret. But they generally propose two hypotheses:
They tell us that Jesus likely didn’t want the wrong image spread about Him. He wasn’t out to glorify Himself by His healings, but to glorify God His Father. And He didn’t want to stir up a hornet’s nest of sick people and others who would want to make Him King, all to the consternation of the Romans and the Pharisees, who were armed to put down any kind of rebellion. You see, it was not about Jesus, the new Rock Star Idol, so it had to be toned down, it had to be kept Secret.
Then the scholars’ second, hypothetical reason for the Messianic Secret was that Jesus was not yet ready to reveal Himself as the Messiah, because the Apostles still had much more to learn about Him. Besides the fact that the time for His Passion, Death and Resurrection was not yet due. It was just too early! So again, it was all done in secret.
In the end, who knows, maybe Jesus was just using reverse psychology, knowing our human natures, in order to get the word out even more.
Or maybe the true point of it all was that those healed men, never really understood that it was THEIR Faith that healed them.
If we were to compare Matthew and Luke’s (Lk 18:35-43) versions of this same story, we’d find that, in both stories the blind men acknowledged Jesus to be the Messiah, prophesied by Isaiah, by calling Him the “Son of David.” And they also knew that the Messiah would have the ability to heal.
And yet, after their healing, Matthew’s TWO blind men went off and LEFT Jesus – to follow their own human nature and divulge a secret. Their faith in the prophesy healed them, but it was not great enough to drive a conversion of heart, a conversion of love for Jesus.
But Luke’s ONE blind man, who was also healed by his Faith and his knowledge of the prophesy, was so thoroughly converted by his experience, that He immediately followed Jesus, giving all the Glory to God. And this time, instead of Jesus entrusting a secret, we hear how, “ALL the people gave praise to God.” Which is exactly what Jesus wanted them to do.
prompted By THEIR Faith,
pointed them TO the Father,
and brought about their conversion of heart!
And there’s our message for the day!
As we come to the close of the first week of Advent, we might ask ourselves:
“How have I relied on my faith in Jesus to help heal me, to guide me in accomplishing things I wasn’t quite sure of, and in the process, grow closer to God our Father?”
“And IF I just happened to experience some saving work of God in my life this week, did I give HIM the glory?”
“Did I give thanks to Jesus? And did I follow Him in love?”
“Or did I just wander off to the next whim of my human nature?”
You see, it really is no Secret.
Jesus is just waiting here for us. Not only to ask our needs, in Faith. But to follow Him in complete conversion, of heart, with His Love for everyone!
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