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That’s Beside the Point

First Reading: 1 John 5:5-13

Beloved:
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and Blood.
The Spirit is the one who testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.
So there are three who testify,
the Spirit, the water, and the Blood,
and the three are of one accord.
If we accept human testimony,
the testimony of God is surely greater.
Now the testimony of God is this,
that he has testified on behalf of his Son.
Whoever believes in the Son of God
has this testimony within himself.
Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar
by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son.
And this is the testimony:
God gave us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son.
Whoever possesses the Son has life;
whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.

I write these things to you so that you may know
that you have eternal life,
you who believe in the name of the Son of God.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Gospel: Luke 5:12-16

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was;
and when he saw Jesus,
he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said,
“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”
Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
And the leprosy left him immediately.
Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but
“Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing
what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”
The report about him spread all the more,
and great crowds assembled to listen to him
and to be cured of their ailments,
but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.

ESV

jan 8

Man, I always get hung up on these words, “Then he ordered him not to tell anyone.” Why? Why wouldn’t Jesus want everyone to know ofHis wonderful deeds and mercy? I think the easy answer would be to think that Jesus was afraid of being persecuted for his actions. But we all know that can’t be true, right? So, what’s the real reason? Isn’t there something about talents and bushel baskets and what not in the Bible?

It seems to me that Jesus didn’t want publicity over His miracles because that just wasn’t the point. Of course He would heal people when they showed great faith and trust in Him—He is a kind, loving God. But He didn’t come down to earth to magically heal all of our suffering and then make His merry way back up to Heaven.

He knew the world would always be full of suffering; we sealed that deal many, many years ago. Instead, he came to save us from eternal suffering caused by our own sinfulness.

And by making the focus of his mission to be the grand miracles, it would have taken away from the real purpose: to show us how to live in order to get into the Kingdom of Heaven.

So, what do we take from this?

We should be doing great things for our brothers and sisters, but we should not be seeking glorification from it. We serve simply because it is the right thing to do. And we must be humble in our servitude.

Our ultimate goal should be to live our lives like we want to go to Heaven and to help others do the same. Great acts are only a part of that lifestyle.

In order to live this way, we can perform great acts (or small acts with great love). But the acts are not the main event. They are simply one of the means to the real message: love in the same way God loves us.

Perform a simple act of kindness today just out of love. Don’t expect anything in return. Simply do it because you want to love Jesus more.

photo by Sara Miller

Jenna Hines has teeny army of three children and is married to a bearded fellow named Mike. A former high school English teacher, she now stays at home where she writes and runs a crafty embroidery business. You can find out more about her here

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