I’ve always been bad at keeping secrets. I pretty much never have them, myself, and keeping the secrets of others requires effort and mindfulness. Knowing something that I’m not supposed to tell other people makes me feel upside-down-turtle-awkward. So, while I hope I’d do better than these guys if I were in their situation, I can surely relate.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus heals a deaf man, and then makes a request of the onlookers that they completely ignore:
“He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it.” (Mark 7:36)
There are good reasons why Jesus doesn’t want His miracles publicized in real time. As a practical matter, the crowds of looky-loos wanting to see a miracle man interfere with Jesus’ work of preaching and prayer. After a healed leper didn't heed Jesus' instructions, “It was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places . . . .” (Mark 1:45)
He was also trying to avoid a mob who misunderstood His mission and purpose “carry[ing] him off to make him king.” (John 6:15) Jesus did not come to be a nationalistic earthly king. He also knew that the more famous He became, the more jealous those in power would become. Jesus kept the full Truth of His divine identity mostly quiet (despite the bad secret-keepers) until God’s plan of Jesus’ passion and resurrection could be realized over the events of Holy Week.
And that’s exactly why we awkward secret-keepers don’t have to worry anymore. With the resurrection, we are witnesses not to just a small piece, but to the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation. Secrecy is no longer needed. Now we can shout from the rooftops how Jesus has healed us, from our own blindnesses and deafnesses and invisible inner leprosies. It’s all too good to keep to ourselves. Whew!
Think about one or two ways you can genuinely proclaim appreciation for your healing today.
Kendra Tierney is a forty year old mother of nine and wife of one living in and working on a big old fixer-upper house in Los Angeles. She's a homeschooler and a regular schooler and is counting down the days until her oldest turns sixteen and can take over some of the driving! Her new book about living the liturgical year in the home is in the editing process. You can find her first book, A Little Book About Confession, here, her blog here, and her word art here.