Thursday, January 21, 2016

If you embrace all things in this life as coming from the hands of God, and even embrace death to fulfill His holy will, assuredly you will die a saint.

Gospel Text: (MK 3:7-12)
Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing,
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem,
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan,
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd,
so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him
and shout, “You are the Son of God.”
He warned them sternly not to make him known.

At the end of today’s Gospel passage, after healing many persons, Jesus “warned [the unclean spirits] not to make Him known.” Why does Jesus issue this warning? “The Messianic Secret” is a phrase sometimes used to refer to the identity of Jesus, which He commands others—both friend and foe—not to reveal. This warning or commands comes from the nature of Jesus’ mission on earth.

God the Son was sent into our sinful world to become man, so that man might share in divine life. In itself, this mission is not scandalous, even if it seems incredible. However, the means by which God the Son would accomplish this mission did scandalize most of His friends and foes. The folly of the Cross turned away many whom Jesus came to save.

If Jesus revealed His identity, it was only to advance His mission. If Jesus was to advance His mission, He must reveal the glory of the Cross. In this sense, Jesus’ identity and mission were bound up together during His earthly life. To reveal one was to reveal the other. But to reveal His mission was to risk driving away persons He wished to save. The purpose of the “Messianic Secret”, then, is the prudential progression of His self-revelation: to save as many as possible from their own self-delusions of grandeur, delusions by which man believes that he can save himself, and that salvation comes from any source other than carrying one’s cross in union with the crucified Christ. 

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