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After Jesus cured the leper, He said to him, “Go show yourself to the priest and do not tell anyone.” What is the first thing he does? He blabs it to everyone. I can understand what happened. After the priest gave the leper a clean bill of health and told him he could now go to the city, get a job, hold babies, have a life, he probably returned home. Upon entering the house, the family tells the leper he cannot stay because he is unclean. But the former leper tells them that he is cured, and the priest permitted him to return to society. So one of the family members asked him, “How did you get well?” The man said, “I can’t tell you, it is a secret.” One replies, “You should not keep secrets from your mother?” The leper says, “I probably can tell you, but do not tell anyone else. Jesus, a kind and wonderful prophet healed me.” The mother said, “I am so happy you let me in on the secret. Since you left, I have had horrible back pain, and I am not able to lift anything. Do you think Jesus can help me?” The former leper assured her, “Yes, He will help you.” We are like the mother. We are also in on a great secret that can make a difference to us.
Soon after, the former leper went out to look for a job. He saw a “Help Wanted” sign at Tim’s Donut shop. So he went in to apply for the position, and the owner asked him where he was from. The leper said, “I live down the street. In fact, I grew up in this neighborhood.” The owner never saw him in his life, so he wondered why he didn’t know the man. That is because he had leprosy. The leper assured him, “I had leprosy, but I was cured. The priest declared that I am clean and I can get a job.” So the owner asked him, “How were you cured?” The leper said, “I can’t tell you, it is a secret.” The owner said, “Why not?” “I can’t tell you because Jesus told me not too ….oops.” The owner said, “I am so glad you let the secret slip past your lips. My son has been sick; do you think Jesus could help him?” The leper said, “Go, he will help you.”
Everyone is always glad to know this secret? Why? The reason: Jesus can make a difference in our lives. Mark in his Gospel really wants us to be aware that we are in on the secret. We have valuable information that can make a difference in our lives.
Once, I was on vacation. I was putting away my inflatable kayak that looks like a giant banana, and a truck pulls up to me. The driver rolls down the window and asks me, “How is the fishing.” I said, “It is fabulous, do you have a Kayak?” He said he did. I told him to go over to that cove in the afternoon when the tide changes and the fish will be there. Now, why did tell this guy about my secret spot? Why would I want him to know? How do I know he will not report it to everyone? This is the reason: he will go there in the afternoon and catch a lot of fish, and ten years later he will remember the skinny guy standing beside the giant banana. People do not forget valuable information.
One time Dad dragged me out fishing with him in the middle of the winter. We fished all morning and caught nothing. Just as we were going to quit, a man came up to us and asked if we caught anything. After we gave him our glim report, he said, funny I fished this spot and had not done anything either. Go up stream to the next bend, and you will find a deep hole that is now holding a lot of fish. He assured us that we would do really well. I am not sure why the man told us his secret spot, but I will tell you this. I still remember him. That was 27 years ago, and I still remember him. We always remember when someone gives us valuable information that makes an impact in our lives.
The faith lesson we draw from the leper’s encounter with Jesus is this: we are in on the secret. Jesus can make a difference in our lives. This is valuable information. We just have to make sure we use it.Back to All Homilies