“THE MESSIANIC SECRECY AND OUR MISREPRESENTATION OF HIM”
First Reading: Isaiah 29:17-24
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 26(27):1,4,13-14
Gospel Reading: Matthew 9:27-31
In the Prophetic Tradition of the Jewish Scriptures, deafness, dumbness, or blindness were considered figures of resistance to the message of God. This is because these illnesses impede the individual from participating in the synagogue activities and temple worship; thus preventing the patient from having access to salvation. For this reason, these physically challenged individuals were positioned at the temple gates and streets to beg for alms and to possibly seek healing from any Jewish figure or exorcist at that time (cf. Mathew 21:15, Acts 3:2). Faced with these difficulties, the Jews dreamed and yearned for a Messiah who would come and free them from these corporal difficulties. In response to their yearnings, God spoke through the Prophet Isaiah (the Great Advent Prophet) of a messianic era, free from obscurity and darkness, which would serve as a healing for the deaf in order to hear God’s words and the blind who would regain their sight, among other marvelous deeds. However, these healings would not only serve their temporal good but also their eternal and spiritual good – the climax of these would be the death and resurrection of Christ, gaining redemption for man.
The advent of Christ fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy by healing several blind, deaf, dumb, and lame people as recorded in the New Testament. Particularly, today’s gospel passage mirrors a microcosm of the fulfillment of that prophecy. However, Jesus would sternly warn his beneficiaries (on several occasions) not to reveal his messianic identity/miracles, but on the contrary, they’d end up going against Jesus’ wish. This messianic secrecy was necessary at that point in time (before the death and resurrection of Christ) because Jesus knew they didn’t fully understand who He was in line with his redemptive mission, and that would lead to misrepresentations of his true identity. He knew that their testimony about Him would fail to present Him in the truest light. He was the Lamb of God, the Saviour, the Messiah, the Sacrificial Lamb. He was the One who came into this world to redeem us by the shedding of His blood. Many people, however, wanted a nationalist “messiah” or just a miracle worker. They wanted someone to save them from political oppression and make them a great earthly nation. But this was not Jesus’ mission.
Beloved friends, many a time, we can also often fall into the trap of misunderstanding who Jesus is and who He wants to be in our lives. We may want a “god” who only saves us from our daily struggles, injustices, and temporal hardships. We may want a “god” who acts according to our will and not the other way around. We want a “god” who will heal us and free us from all earthly burdens and make us rich and proper. But Jesus clearly taught throughout His life that He would suffer and die. He taught us that we must take up our own crosses and follow him. And He taught us that we must die, embrace suffering, offer mercy, turn the other cheek, and find our glory in what the world will never understand. It is only at the Lord’s Table (Breaking of Bread) that our eyes are opened (cf. Luke 24:31), and healed of our spiritual blindness to see and recognize who truly Jesus is in our lives. Reflect, today, on whether you have been speaking too loudly about your subjective opinion of who Jesus is. Do you find joy in presenting a “god” that isn’t really God? Or do you already know the very Person of Christ our Lord to such an extent that you can bear witness to Him? This Season of Advent offers you an opportunity to recommit yourself to a true proclamation of Christ, by praying for spiritual healing and insight in order to recognize and understand clearly Christ’s mission and putting aside any and all confused images of our Saving God.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?