6th Week in Ordinary Time
1 Cor 10:31-11:1… but as usual, I’m going to send you to read the rest of the chapter and the other readings. It’s Lectionary # 77, if you’re reading from a hard copy.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” quoth many a mother. We strive to be like the ones we love and respect. Children strive to be exactly like their parents, even when they don’t do it very well. (We’ve lost a few dishes to Pitter-Patter imitating us unloading the dishwasher!)
And Paul enjoins the church in Corinth (functionally) to the imitation of Christ. It’s a tall order - so tall that one might call it prideful to hope for success…
For that reason, it might be best for us to us to try to focus in on only one thing this week. In the Gospel, the Lord heals a Leper and then enjoins him not to tell anybody how he was healed.
For a very long time, the fact that Jesus wanted his miracles to be kept a secret really, really confused me, until about 3 years ago, when Daniel’s pastor, Wayne King, pointed out that Jews of that day had a very large appetite for signs.
It happens a number of times in the Gospels that a sign is either called for or volunteered to confirm Jesus’ authority, which gives Wayne’s words a strong ring of truth. Their appetite for signs and miracles would have impeded the progress of the Gospel - and we can see that after this man spread the tale about his miraculous healing, Jesus couldn’t even enter a town openly.
He certainly could have gotten a lot of popular esteem by doing lots of signs for the people, but how could he have preached if was positively tripping over people asking for signs all the time?
In much the same way, we could gain a lot of popular esteem by compromising on the Gospel. If we were just willing to pass over certain teachings that are unpopular, the gospel would be a lot more easily received.
If Jesus wasn’t willing to compromise the integrity of the Gospel for something that would be more popular, then neither should we! There are numerous places in the New Testament where serious warnings are given about modifying the Gospel message.
Let us ask the Lord to give us the grace to courageously proclaim the whole Gospel in our words and our actions. Let us pray that he give us eyes to see the places in which we have not been willing to follow his example, the grace to change our hearts, and the courage to act on it.