Thirty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Carl_Bloch_The_Healing_of_the_Blind_Bartimaeus_400Last Sunday’s gospel was taken from the 18th chapter of St. Luke’s gospel in which we heard of the rich ruler to whom the Lord said that he sacrifice everything and follow Him. This morning’s reading is taken from that same chapter and it takes place after that incident as the Lord was on His way to Jerusalem and approaches the town of Jericho.

There, a great multitude had gathered because they heard that Jesus was passing that way and in that crowd of people was a certain blind man who sat on the street begging. He heard the commotion and asked what all the excitement was. When they told him that Jesus of Nazareth would be passing by his heart jumped for joy. He exclaimed, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” And while those around him told him to lower his voice he became louder and repeated, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”

When the Lord commanded that the man be brought to Him, He asked him: “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, that I may see.” The Lord healed him saying, “…your faith has made you well.” And the gospel this morning ends with the words: “And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.”

It’s interesting how this man who couldn’t see was able to see the Lord as the Son of David.  On the other hand, all those around him who could see were only able to see Him as Jesus “of Nazareth”.

What’s more, those very same people rebuked the blind man and told him that he should be quiet when he raised his voice and called for the Son of David to heal him. Let’s not think that such people existed only at that time.  They not only exist today but they’re not always our so-called enemies. They can be family members, friends, those close to us who find offense, or in some way might be bothered by our faith in God and so they’ll say to us – though, not in so many words –  to “be quiet”.  This blind man from Jericho, however, gives us the beautiful example of persistence of faith. It’s one thing to say that we believe in God and yet another to continue believing despite all the negativity around us.

In fact, that’s the miracle in this morning’s gospel – the miracle of our faith.  It’s what’s inside all of us if we only search for it; if we look for it, we too, will see.  Like the blind man who saw without eyes we too shouldn’t need proof of God’s presence and thank Him only after seeing; rather, we should see Him in all things, His fingerprint is in all of nature, His presence is in all the days of our life.

Unlike other gospel episodes of healing, this morning’s reading was followed by the people praising God “when they saw” this great miracle. May this praise and thanksgiving fill our hearts as well for “every good gift and every perfect gift [which] is from above” (James 1:17) and with which God blesses every day of our life. Amen.

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