Friday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 17:1-9-10.15-22; Matthew 8:1-4)
Sometimes when I make a donation to charitable organization, I put cash in an envelope and mail it anonymously. I would like to report that I do this to conform to Jesus’ lesson on almsgiving. He says in the Sermon on the Mount, “’ do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others.’” But, truth be told, the reason I don’t toot my horn when I donate is that I don’t want to receive a dozen more requests. Jesus, as we should expect, is much more consistent in doing what he is right.
In today’s gospel, Jesus is approached by a leper for healing immediately after he delivered his famous discourse on the mountain. He performs the cures and orders the man not to tell anyone about his doing the healing. Most preachers say that Jesus desires secrecy because he does not want to be confused with a political messiah. This is probably true, but it is also the case that Jesus is acting in perfect conformity with what he just said on the mount about doing righteous deeds in secret.
We find in Jesus our model for life. We should always endeavor to do what Jesus did. This does not mean, of course, that we have to wear sandals and drink wine. But it does call us to love our neighbor not for any advantage to ourselves but because he or she is a child of God.