Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 7, 2021
There was a game show that was quite popular between 1952 and 1967 called “I’ve Got a Secret.” Some unknown person would “sign in” on a chalkboard and then whisper their secret into the ear of the host, while a panel of four looked on. The “secret” would then be revealed to the audience at home.
The panelists were given 30 seconds each to ask the person questions in an effort to guess the secret. There was a sense of urgency to the game. The clock was ticking. The guest would respond either “yes” or “no,” earning a mere $20.00 for each “no.” If the secret was intact by the end of the “cross- examination,” the contestant would win the staggering sum of $80.00.
There is a twist unique to Mark’s Gospel that brings that little game show to mind. JESUS HAD A SECRET! Scripture scholars refer to it as the MESSIANIC SECRET. Repeatedly, after each great miracle, Jesus would caution the witnesses to “not tell anyone!”
In this Sunday’s passage, The Lord does not permit the demons He exorcised to speak (because they knew His secret). But there is not the customary gag order on the witnesses. Instead, He protected His Secret after doing miraculous deeds from Peter’s front porch by quietly slipping away.
Biblical scholars propose a number of reasons why Jesus tried to keep His identity as The Messiah concealed. Each is thought provoking. As you listen to Mark’s account of The Lord’s mission and ministry unfold over the coming liturgical year, try to make a guess yourself. But, as we approach the First Sunday in Lent, it might be worthwhile to play the game.
Sign in, please!
Are you loving and forgiving?
Do you put the needs of others before your own?
Are you welcoming to strangers?
Are you truthful?
Do you love the Lord your God with your whole heart…your whole mind…and your whole soul?
Do you love your neighbor as yourself?
After Peter’s mother was healed, she began to serve. Through Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist, we are healed. And, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to serve. Our service is in living the Gospel. There is an urgency to our work. The clock is indeed ticking.
When time is up…at the end your life…will your secret still be safe? Will you win the $80.00? Will people have guessed by the way you have lived your life that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ? In that case, even though your secret has been revealed, you will have won Eternal Life.