The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Have you ever encountered a special moment of grace, a once in a life-time opportunity you knew you could not pass up? Such a moment came for a blind and destitute man who heard that Jesus was passing by. The Gospel of Mark identifies this man as Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). This blind man was determined to get near the one person who could meet his need. He knew who Jesus was and had heard of his fame for healing, but until now had no means of making contact with the Son of David, a clear reference and title for the Messiah.
Faith and persistence is rewarded It took raw courage and persistence for Bartimaeus to get the attention of Jesus over the din of a noisy throng who crowded around Jesus as he made his way out of town. Why was the crowd annoyed with the blind man’s persistent shouts? He was disturbing their peace and interrupting their conversation with Jesus. It was common for a rabbi to teach as he walked with others. Jesus was on his way to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem and a band of pilgrims followed him. When the crowd tried to silence the blind man he overpowered them with his loud emotional outburst and thus caught the attention of Jesus. This incident reveals something important about how God interacts with us. The blind man was determined to get Jesus’ attention and he was persistent in the face of opposition. Jesus could have ignored or rebuffed him because he was interrupting his talk and disturbing his audience. Jesus showed that acting was more important than talking. This man was in desprate need and Jesus was ready not only to empathize with his suffering but to relieve it as well. The blind man recognized Jesus with eyes of faith A great speaker can command attention and respect, but a man or woman with a helping hand and a big heart is loved more. Jesus commends Bartimaeus for recognizing who he is with the eyes of faith and grants him physical sight as well. Do you recognize your need for God’s healing grace and do you seek Jesus out, like Bartimaeus, with persistent faith and trust in his goodness and mercy?
Bartimaeus was not only grateful for the gift of faith and the gift of physical sight, but for the opportunity to now follow Jesus as one of his disciples. Luke tells us us that he immediately followed Jesus and gave glory to God. The crowd also gave praise to God when they saw this double miracle of spiritual and physical vision. Clement of Alexandria, a 4th century church father, comments on this double vision:
Now that he was delivered from his blindness, did he neglect the duty of loving Christ? He certainly did not. It says, He followed him, offering him glory like to God. He was set free from double blindness. Not only did he escape from the blindness of the body but also from that of the mind and heart. He would not have glorified him as God, had he not possessed spiritual vision. He became the means of others giving Christ glory, for it says that all the people gave glory to God.(Commentary on Luke, Homily 126) Do you give glory to God for giving you the “eyes of fait” to recognize him as your Lord and Healer? “Lord Jesus, open the eyes of my heart and mind that I may see and understand the truth and goodness of your word. May I never fail to recognize your presence with me and to call upon your saving grace in my time of need and healing.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
“THE NECESSITY OF PRAYING ALWAYS” “Jesus asked him, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ ” Luke 18:40-41 Jesus spoke of “the necessity of praying always and not losing heart” (Lk 18:1). We are to never stop praying (1 Thes 5:17). Many centuries ago, a Christian went on pilgrimage and asked holy person after holy person how it could be possible to pray always. The answer he finally received was what is called the “Jesus prayer.” This prayer is a combination of Luke 18:39 and Luke 18:13. The Jesus prayer is: “Lord Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me, a sinner.” The prayer is sometimes shortened to “Lord Jesus, mercy” or even to only the name “Jesus.” The Christian pilgrim was taught to pray this many times, to pray it almost with every breath to the point that he was thinking of Jesus even when he was not praying it. Thus, he was obeying the Lord’s command to pray always.
Be like the Christian pilgrim. Try to learn to pray always. Keep trying no matter how long it takes. Even if others discourage you, cry “out all the more, ‘Son of David, have pity on me!’ ” (Lk 18:39) Because there is the necessity to pray always, there is the necessity to learn to pray always. The Holy Spirit will teach you (Jn 14:26). Pray in the Spirit (see Jude 20). Pray always.
Prayer: Father, by the Holy Spirit, may I not only have a life of prayer but a life of praying always. Promise: “Happy is the man who reads this prophetic message, and happy are those who hear it and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near!” Rv 1:3 Praise: St. Elizabeth was canonized just four years after her death, so much did she imitate Christ in life.
(You may wish to order our booklet, Life-Changing Prayers from the Bible, as an aid to praying or our tape How to Pray the Bible on audio AV82-3 or video V-82.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014.Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 24, 2014. The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements