Jesus sometimes avoids publicity. Here’s why.
Today’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 1:40-45) highlights one of the times that Jesus seeks to avoid publicity:
And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”  Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I will; be clean.”  And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.  And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once,  and said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.”  But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
Jesus sternly instructs the man not to tell anyone (except the priest so that the man can re-enter the Temple, now that he is clean). Why?
Dr. Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch offer 3 reasons in their marvelous commentary in the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (every Catholic should have a copy of this wonderful resource – get it here):
- Jesus wanted to avoid a “sensationalist” reputation of being no more than a wonder-worker.
- Jesus wanted to avoid the common notion that the Messiah would be a political and military leader.
- Jesus did not want to ignite the wrath of His enemies before the appointed time for His Passion.
Jesus was a brilliant strategist, picking and choosing when, where and how He would reveal Himself. Even when people refused to cooperate!