Soul-Nourishing Sunday Gem: Everyday Angels Who Encourage You
In today’s Sunday gospel, Jesus heals a leper and says, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” (Mk 1:40-45)
What did the leper do? He went and told everyone!
I don’t fault the guy one bit. And just maybe, he was an angel for Jesus with a divine message.
When Jesus told him not to say anything, I can imagine the leper saying, “Wait a second. You got to be kidding me! Keep this on the ‘down-low’?! I’ve been an outcast, shunned, and spit on. People are repulsed when they look at me. Parents quickly grab their children and pull them closer to them when they see me. Keep my cure quiet until I see the priest?! Keep my joy contained?! Jesus, there’s no way I’m keeping this quiet! YOU are all that! I believed in you and knew that you could cure me. Jesus, there are people who need your healing touch. There are people who need to see you and be in your presence and be healed from what ails them. It’s time for you. Get ready, because here your people come.”
I’ve heard before several reasons why Jesus didn’t want the leper to say anything until he saw the priest. But here’s a new one that came to me as I read this passage anew this year:
Maybe Jesus was growing into his vocation. Maybe he wasn’t ready yet. Maybe he was still trying to “figure it all out.”
This reminds me of the wedding at Cana. His mother knew he was ready. And he was like, “Woman, be on the downlow!” He got snippy with her. But ah, a mother knows. And sometimes, too, so do the people who truly see him.
I can imagine his mother and the leper saying, “Jesus, you are ready. You don’t have to get it perfect. You don’t have to have it all figured out. Just show up as GOD – and let God flow through you.”
Jesus was both human and divine. For me, saying that doesn’t make Jesus LESS “God.” It makes my love for God and Jesus even deeper. Jesus was God learning in human skin! I can relate to a Jesus who grew into his vocation. I can relate to a Jesus who learned and prayed and discovered along the way the leader he was called to be. I can relate to a Jesus who grew into recognizing his divinity, and then letting that light shine.
The same goes for us. We are all leaders. We might be a leader at work, a coach, a teacher, or a parent. We all have a light to shine. We all have God in us.
But this is what I’ve seen in working with leaders – at home, on the soccer field, and at work:
We hesitate and hold back because:
1. We are waiting for the “I’m ready” clear signal.
2. We are waiting for fear to go away.
3. We are waiting until we have everything in place.
4. We are waiting to feel certain that this is what we should do.
Maybe Jesus was waiting for a clear signal from God, like, “Alright, we got this! Let’s do it!” Maybe Jesus was waiting until his fear wasn’t so intense. Maybe he was waiting until everything was in place and he felt more confident.
We often do the same thing.
But then there are people who “see us,” like the leper and Mary saw Jesus for who he really was.
There are people in our lives who truly see us. They see our divinity. They see our greatness. They see “The God in You.” They see our light. And they nudge us in the direction of stepping out into the world – as we are: uncertain, afraid, and trying to get it all perfect.
Those who encourage you just might be angels with a divine message:
“Just begin. Let God speak, serve, and love through you.”
I like the idea that Jesus grew into his wisdom. I like imagining Jesus growing into seeing and embodying his divinity. And there were some he encountered who just may have helped him to see more clearly. And begin.
So it may be with us.
This week, look around you for the people who really see you. Listen to how their words speak truth. And just maybe, their “clear seeing” may be the encouragement you need to begin. To let your light shine. To share your creativity. To serve the world. To step into your power. Imperfect, shaking, uncertain, but growing into your divinity.
I’ve been sharing Soul-Nourishing Sunday Gems on Facebook for awhile now, and blog readers have been asking me to put them on the blog. So that’s what I’m doing from time to time. These Sunday gems are spiritual reflections that come to me from my quiet time and the various religious and spiritual traditions that have messages that inspire delight, compassion, and connection to flourish in our everyday lives.