Lectio Divina: Luke 18:35-43
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 Jesus’ arrival in Jericho. It is the last stop before Jesus goes to Jerusalem, where His “Exodus”, according to what He announced in the Transfiguration scene will take place. He has also issued similar sentiments along the way 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 may have been many blind people in Palestine possibly because of the strong sun and arid conditions.
• 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 teaching of that time taught that the Messiah would descend from David, a “Son of David”. 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. Consequently, “The people in front scold him telling him to keep quiet.” However, “he only shouted all the louder, Son of David have pity on me!” This occurs in our time when the cry of the poor bothers the established society.
• Luke 18:40-41: The reaction of Jesus before the cry of the blind man. And what did Jesus do? Jesus stopped and ordered them to bring the man to Him. Those who wanted to stop the blind man from shouting now are asked 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 much, only his mantle to cover his body (cf. Ex 22:25-26). His mantle was his home! Today, Jesus listens to the cry of the poor which we 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 recovers his sight and begins to follow Jesus praising God. And all the people, when they saw that, praised God. When the blind man calls Jesus by a title that was uncomfortable, by the title “Son of David,” he probably bothered people. His faith in Jesus exceeded his ideas about Jesus. He did not demand anything as Peter did (Mk 8:32-33). Healing is the fruit of his faith in Jesus. Once he is 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. This decision to walk with Jesus is the source of courage and seed of victory in the cross, The cross is not something fatal but rather an experience of God. It is a consequence of the decision to follow Jesus in obedience to the Father.
• 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 grow. That seed lay hidden like fire under the ashes. Jesus blew on the ashes and the fire ignited. The Kingdom appears and 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. The blind man had faith and was cured despite his understanding of Jesus. He was converted and 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 to walk with Him in the way of service. Anyone who insists, as Peter at one point does, that Messiahship comes without the cross, understands nothing of Jesus. Such a person does not have the attitude of a true disciple of Jesus. Anyone who believes in Jesus and gives himself (Lk 9:23-24), anyone who accepts being last (Lk 22:26), anyone who drinks the chalice of suffering and carries his/her cross (Mt 20:22; Mk 10:38), will succeed in “following Jesus along the way” (Lk 18:43). Walking with Jesus is the source of courage and provides the seed of victory in the cross.
4) Personal questions
• How do I see and hear the cry of the poor such as migrants, people of color, AIDS sufferers, beggars, refugees, et al. ?
• What is my faith like? Am I rigid in my ideas about 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)