A curious feature found especially in Mark’s gospel is what scholars call the “Messianic secret.” Jesus goes about teaching and performing miracles, making well the sick and troubled. At the same time, he orders those who are made well, the demons he encounters and his own disciples, not to make him known. This is odd. Shouldn’t this good news be spread far and wide? However, it is only later through Jesus’ death and resurrection that a complete and accurate understanding of his identity and mission will become available.
Fame is a tricky phenomenon, even, and perhaps especially, fame for doing what is good. Attention gets shifted from the goodness for its own sake to an individual personality. Celebrity status is just around the corner. The famous one then is inclined to act with mixed motives that include what gathers attention to oneself.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:3 that when we help those in need, “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” In other words, do good and be kind, anonymous to others and even to yourself.
God’s grace in faith frees us to give and love unselfconsciously. We are freed to serve and to celebrate.
Self-emptying God, free us in faith to love, do good works and celebrate! Amen. — TDW