Lectio Divina. Monday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time.
Author: Order of Carmlites | Source: www.ocarm.org
1) Opening prayer
Father of all that is good,
keep us faithful in serving you,
for to serve you is our lasting joy.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel reading - Luke 18,35-43
Now it happened that as Jesus drew near to Jericho there was a blind man sitting at the side of the road begging. When he heard the crowd going past he asked what it was all about, and they told him that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by. So he called out, 'Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.' The people in front scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, 'Son of David, have pity on me.'
Jesus stopped and ordered them to bring the man to him, and when he came up, asked him, 'What do you want me to do for you?' 'Sir,' he replied, 'let me see again.' Jesus said to him, 'Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.'
And instantly his sight returned and he followed him praising God, and all the people who saw it gave praise to God.
• The Gospel today describes the arrival of Jesus to Jericho. It is the last stop before going up to Jerusalem, where the “Exodus” of Jesus will take place, according to what he announced in his Transfiguration (Lk 9, 31) and along the way up to Jerusalem (Lk 9, 44; 18, 31-33).
• Luke 18, 35-37: The blind man sitting on the side of the road. “Now it happened that as Jesus drew near to Jericho, there was a blind man sitting on the side of the road begging. When he heard the crowd going past he asked what it was all about. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by”. In the Gospel of Mark, the blind man is called Bartimaeus (Mk 10, 46). Since he was blind, he could not participate in the procession which accompanied Jesus. At that time, there were many blind people in Palestine, because the strong sun which hit the whitened rocky earth hurt the eyes which were not protected.
• Luke 18, 38-39: The cry of the blind man and the reaction of the people. “Then he began to cry out: Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” He calls Jesus using the title “Son of David”. The catechism of that time taught that the Messiah would be of the descent of David, “Son of David”, a glorious Messiah. Jesus did not like this title. In quoting the Messianic Psalm, he asks himself: “How is it that the Messiah can be the son of David if even David calls him “My Lord?” (Lk 20, 41-44) The cry of the blind man bothers the people who accompany Jesus. Because of this, “The people in front scolded him and told him to keep quiet. They tried to stop him but he only shouted all the louder, Son of David have pity on me!” Even up to our time the cry of the poor bothers the established society: migrants, beggars, refugees, sick with AIDS, and so many!
• Luke 18, 40-41: The reaction of Jesus before the cry of the blind man. And what does Jesus do? “Jesus stopped and ordered them to bring the man to him”. Those who wanted to stop the blind man from shouting because this bothered them, now asked by Jesus, are obliged to help the poor man to get to Jesus. The Gospel of Mark adds that the blind man left everything and went to Jesus. He did not have too much; only his mantle. That is what he possessed to cover his body (cf. Es 22, 25-26). That was his security! That was his land! Today, also, Jesus listens to the cry of the poor which, we, many times do not want to hear. “When he came up to Jesus, he asked him: What do you want me to do for you?” It is not sufficient to shout or cry out, it is necessary to know why he is shouting! The blind man answers: “Lord that I may see again”.
• Luke 18, 42-43: Go! Your faith has saved you! “And Jesus says: Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you“. Immediately he recovered his sight and began to follow Jesus praising God. And all the people, when they saw that, praised God.” The blind man had called Jesus with an idea which was not totally correct, because the title “Son of David” was not completely correct. But he had greater faith in Jesus than in his ideas about Jesus. He did not demand anything like Peter did (Mk 8, 32-33). He knew how to give his life accepting Jesus without imposing any conditions. Healing is the fruit of his faith in Jesus. Once he was cured, he follows Jesus and walks along with Him toward Jerusalem. In this way he becomes a model disciple for all of us who want “to follow Jesus along the road” toward Jerusalem: to believe more in Jesus and not so much in our ideas about Jesus! In this decision to walk with Jesus is found the source of courage and the seed of the victory on the cross. Because the cross is not something fatal, but it is an experience of God. It is the consequence of the commitment of Jesus, in obedience to the Father, to serve the brothers and not to accept privileges!
• Faith is a force which transforms the person. The Good News of the Kingdom announced by Jesus was a sort of fertilizer. It made the seed of life hidden in people to grow; that seed hidden like the fire under the ashes of observance without life. Jesus blew on the ashes and the fire lit up. The Kingdom appears and the people rejoice. The condition was always the same: to believe in Jesus. The cure of the blind man clarifies a very important aspect of our faith. Even calling Jesus with ideas which are not completely correct, the blind man had faith and he was cured. He was converted; he left everything behind and followed Jesus along the road toward Calvary! The full understanding of the following of Jesus is not obtained from a theoretical instruction, but rather from a practical commitment, walking together with Him along the way of service, from Galilee to Jerusalem. Anyone who insists in keeping the idea of Peter, that is, of the glorious Messiah without a cross, will understand nothing of Jesus and will not succeed in attaining the attitude of a true disciple of Jesus. Anyone who knows how to believe in Jesus and gives himself (Lk 9, 23-24), anyone who knows how to accept to be last (Lk 22, 26), who knows how to drink the chalice and to carry his/her own cross (Mt 20, 22; Mk 10, 38), this one, like the blind man, even not having ideas completely correct, will succeed “to follow Jesus along the way” (Lk 18, 43). In this certainty of walking together with Jesus is found the source of courage and the seed of victory on the cross.
4) Personal questions
• How do I see and hear the cry of the poor: migrants, Negroes, sick of AIDS, beggars, refugees, and so many others?
• How is my faith: am I more fixed on my ideas about Jesus or on Jesus?
5) Concluding prayer
How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked
and does not take a stand in the path that sinners tread,
nor a seat in company with cynics,
but who delights in the law of Yahweh
and murmurs his law day and night. (Ps 1,1-2)