Friday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Genesis 17:1,9-10,15-22 + Matthew 8:1-4
June 30, 2017
“When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.”
After Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount, today’s Gospel passage might seem meager. What is the focus of this brief passage? Is it the healing itself? Jesus’ divine power? The leper’s faith before the miracle occurs, or Jesus’ instructions following the miracle?
The focus of the entire Gospel, of course, is the Person of Jesus Himself. However, in this particular setting fairly early in Matthew’s account of the Gospel (the first miracle Matthew records, although at the end of Chapter 4 we hear in summary manner about Jesus healing multitudes), one detail that stands out is Jesus’ command to the healed leper: “See that you tell no one”. If we believe that Jesus ought to be the center of our Faith, and if Jesus Himself had preached not long before (Matthew 5:14-16) the simile of the “Light of the World” which is not to be hidden, how are we to understand such a command?
While Jesus is the center of the Gospel, He came into this world to bring about man’s salvation. Relate His command to the healed leper to His overall mission. He did not want worldly fame at this point, because fame would have hindered the growth of His mission, as people would inevitably have misunderstood who Jesus was. A lesson for us as His disciples is always to be willing to grow in the virtue of faith, loving Jesus for who He is rather than what He does for us.