Friday, October 23, 2015

Gospel text for Sunday 25 October 2015

Mark 10:46-52        Jesus and his disciples came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you." So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

Reflection      What if Jesus stood still in front of you, looked you in the eye and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” What would you say? What would you do?

I will never forget the first time I heard those words spoken to me through human lips. A wise Episcopal priest whom I had been pestering for months to be my spiritual director kept flatly saying, “No.” After 4 or 5 asks I pretty much gave up. Several more months passed and I decided to call one more time. He answered the phone and after a bit of small talk he asked, “What do you want me to do for your?” His beneficent words cut to my core. All of the oppressive voices that stood between me and God were exposed. “How can I admit the deepest desire of my heart? I don’t deserve such a generous invitation. I am not good enough. I can’t do this. I am not holy enough. How dare I say what I really want out loud?”

After a very long pause I stuttered something like, “I want you to help me see how God is working in my life and I want you to help me discern what I am to do.” Even as I choked out those words fear and trembling gripped my soul. I knew my life was changed forever and I was terrified. Like the cloak that Bartimaeus’ threw off when he sprung up to go to Jesus, I felt all the old images of who I thought I was along with the choir of voices declaring my proper place in the world were shattered. I could barely breath. Those words, those unspeakably generous words, “What do you want me to do for you?” cut through my social, emotional and spiritual limitations and opened the eyes of my heart.

Could there be a more generous invitation than to express the deepest desire of our heart? “What do you want me to do for you?” Do we dare to pause and admit our deep longing for “with God” life? Are we willing to cast off all constraints that limit our ideas of who and whose we are? Are we ready to respond with bountiful generosity in gratitude for the unspeakable blessings of our “with God” life?

Whether Jesus bursts into the journey of our life in a singular dramatic moment or has been a constant though perhaps not recognized presence inviting us to  “with God” life through the voices of friends and strangers along the way, a decision is always required of us. Are we going to settle for the status quo? Or, are we going to take a risk? Are we going to spring up from our comfortable ruts and throw off our cloaks of limiting ideas and oppressive attachments because we choose to put our faith in God’s lavish generosity? Or... will we let fear oppress us and bury our truth?

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