When Jesus asks the leper not to tell anyone of their interaction, I can hear myself saying, “Jesus, surely you know that word is going to get around.” In fact, Jesus probably knew that his request would go unheeded. It is just part of who we are as human beings that we have an irresistible urge to share news with others. Keeping secrets is difficult, especially if the secret is about something remarkable. I am sure that Jesus knew that the news would get out and that the consequences would be that he would receive many more requests for healing. Yet he did not hesitate to cure the leper even though he knew the consequences of his actions.
Deep down we too usually know or can predict the consequences that will follow from our choices – for ill or for good. Sometimes we pray about them, and sometimes we even listen. Sometimes we still choose incorrectly: we eat poorly or eat that sweet despite our diabetes, hurt someone with an unkind word, or spend too much money on something we want but don’t really need. But we all have the capacity to choose the right thing. Even when it is difficult, even when it might come at some personal expense, even when we need to withdraw to a quiet place to pray about it. We can choose, as Jesus did, to be with and for the other even though the consequences led him to Calvary Hill.
Counting the cost is a theme that comes up in all of the Gospels. Choosing to follow Jesus means that we will have to pay the price of our convictions. The crucifix that hangs in almost every room of home reminds us that Jesus too paid the price, endured the consequences of his choice to empty himself and come among us as one like us. Let us pray that we will always be willing to pay the price and endure the consequences of our choice to follow Jesus.