Grace to you!
A couple of days ago, we reflected on what I called persistent prayer. It was drawn from Our Lord Jesus Christ’s request that we persist in asking for our needs (Luke 18:1-8).
In the Gospel of Luke 18:35-43, we see another example of a persistent petition prayer. The blind man called on Jesus for healing. Though the Gospel of Luke didn’t give the name of the blind man, a similar story recorded in Mark 10:46-52 gives us a name– Bartimeus. Many bible scholars believe the story is the same, so I will use Bartimeus to describe this event.
Bartimeus, a blind roadside beggar hears about Jesus of Nazareth, and believes he is the messiah. He calls to him: “Jesus Son of David, have pity on me.” His call was already an act of faith. Declaring Jesus “Son of David” was a Jewish euphemism for the messiah; for the messiah will be the Son of David.
Though Bartimeus was in need and wanted healing, some around were all out to discourage him. Surprisingly, the discouraging voices came from those who journeyed with Jesus. They may have been the disciples; or if not, they may have been the fans (to use a popular phrase). The Gospel of Luke says it was those “in front” that wanted to stop the blind man.
Bartimeus wouldn’t allow them to do so. His faith and determination to see Jesus couldn’t be stopped.
Sometimes in our spiritual life, the greatest discouragement does not come from outsiders or from those who do not share the same faith tradition with us. It comes from those who are in this journey with us.
You know, those times they ask: are you more religious than the pope? Are you holier than Jesus? They may accuse you of being churchy or sanctimonious.
Perhaps, you want to spend more time in Church after Mass for a brief thanksgiving for the graces you received at Mass. It could be you want to practice more works of mercy or stoop to help distribute food for the poor and the homeless. Then some friends discourage you, telling you such practices are demeaning; they do not fit your status.
Equally, it could be you wanted to grow more in the spiritual life and seek some counsel from those you love and respect as great examples of the faith you admire. Instead, they discourage you, dampening your zeal and enthusiasm.
This might be done in subtle ways to sow the seed of discouragement and dissuade you from your prayerful and holy aspirations. Those discouraging voices may not mean to sow the seed of discouragement, though they do anyway.
In situations like the above, remember the example of Bartimeus. Keep calling. Jesus will call to you and you will have your moment of divine embrace, of healing graces. It will be your time.
Pay attention to the inner thoughts, and silent voice inspiring you to do God’s will. As you ward off the discouraging voices and distractions, perhaps you will hear the silent, gentle voice of the Lord, “What do you want me to do for you?” Then, you should be able to say what you truly need, what you desire.
For Bartimeus, it was “I want to see.” For you, what is it? Is it “I want my wounds to be healed?” “I want to be immersed in your love.” “I want to see your face?” or what?
I pray Christ the redeemer will fulfill our heart’s desire. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.