January 14, 2016

Gospel MK 1:40-45
A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
After curing the man’s leprosy, Jesus warns him sternly, “See that you tell no one anything…..”
The people of Israel had been under Roman military occupation for many years. They had been waiting for God to send them the Messiah whom they envisioned would return Israel’s military power and lead them to victory over their enemies.
Jesus did not want to be recognized as the Messiah before he could establish that His was a Kingdom of peace and love.
Nevertheless, human nature being what it is, “The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad………”
The man meant well when he acted on impulse and told others of the power and kindness of Jesus, but consequently, “………it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.”
It is much the same today. You might decide to pay a person’s back rent so their family doesn’t get evicted and ask the person not to mention it.
The recipient of your compassion and generosity may be so overwhelmed with gratitude that they broadcast your goodness to everyone they meet. The result is you are overwhelmed with requests for help.
It is wise to always “check our motives” before acting on an impulse.
The following gospel passages may seem contradictory until we check the motives:
“…..when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6: 3-4.
In this passage, Jesus is telling us we should not talk about our good deeds in order to draw attention to ourselves.
Earlier in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Now Jesus is saying that we should let our good deeds be seen for they give glory to God, the Father.
Thus, at My Brother’s Keeper, when people thank us for bringing them furniture, we do not simply reply, “You’re welcome,” and leave the recipient feeling obligated to us.
Instead, because our motive is to give “Glory to God,” we present them with a crucifix and say, “We’re just the delivery people. This is the man who sent you the furniture.”

“All one’s ways are pure in one’s own eyes
but the measurer of motives is the Lord.”
Proverbs 16:2