Lectio Divina – 11
Fr Martin Kallungal
“Now it happened that as He 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” (Lk. 18:35-43).
The event that Luke narrates in this passage has also been reported by Matthew and Mark in a generally similar manner and yet with some important differences in the details (Mt 20:29-34; Mk 10:46-52). First of all, note that all three evangelists make explicit reference to Jericho, which, according to interpreters, points to the possibility that the man who received healing was a gentile. Basing himself on Matthew’s text, according to which there were two blind men, St Ambrose says that the two men represent the two sons of Noah, Ham and Japhet, the ancestors of all gentiles (Gen 10:1ff). The point is, then, that Jesus restores sight to the gentiles which they lost at some point of time. Another noteworthy point is that the man who was healed by Jesus was not only blind but also poor because he was a beggar. But, this poor blind man made remarkable use of what he was still good at. He heard the people speaking, he inquired about what was happening around, he voiced his request loudly, and he listened and responded to Jesus. May be, we find ourselves in utter poverty and sickening darkness, but that’s not the end anyway. Not all doors are closed at once; even when the main doors are all found closed, some windows are, perhaps, still open. The poor blind man in the Gospel did not sit idle at the dead ends of his life-ways; rather, he tried to reach out through all ways which were still open. Finally, note that this poor blind man fulfils what Jesus asks everyone to do in the beginning of the chapter: “to pray continually and never lose heart” (Lk 18:1). Elsewhere in the opening section of the chapter Jesus promises that God will answer those who call to Him day and night (Lk 18:7-8). Jesus happily finds a poor blind gentile who prays in the way he had asked everyone, especially the elect, to pray. And at once Jesus declares that the faith that has prompted him to pray to the Messiah without ceasing has also healed him.
Lord Jesus, just like the church of Laodicea, I am “wretchedly and pitiably poor, and blind” (Rev. 3:17). But I considered myself to be rich, fortunate and self-sufficient. Grant me the faith that prompts me to call to you always, “Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Give me sight, Lord, so that I may see that I am naked and that I need to be clothed by your grace.
Jesus wants to know our needs from each one of us directly. He wants us to phrase our needs in our own words. Let us enter our heart and cry out to the God who resides deep within our being. Let the echo of our silent cry always resound in our heart’s ears – that’s prayer without ceasing.
Knowing that it is the prayer of faith that will be answered, re-examine the habitual disposition as well as the usual styles of your personal prayer. Decide to resume personal prayer immediately. Pray for God’s mercy till He turns to you. Practice some version of Jesus Prayer.