What do you want the Lord to do for you?—Fourteenth Sunday of Luke

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.

I am spiritually blind, my dear brothers and sisters, and in my blindness I fail to see the blessings the Lord grants me every day.  I miss out and wallow at the roadside begging for scraps and change from those who walk by.

The Lord, in today’s Gospel, is continuing his journey from Galilee through Samaria and now comes towards Jericho.  He is on his way to the passion and has even told to his disciples what was to come,

Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.  For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon.  They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”  But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.

Luke 18:31–34

And in this context, on the outskirts of Jericho, a blind man waits.  But his condition is different from mineHe was willing to endure complaint and ridicule from the crowd surrounding the Lord for the sake of coming to him; I would rather sit in a corner hoping that no one sees what and who I truly am, but he calls out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  I, too, must work up the courage to endure the shame, the ridicule, the sneers and the jeers of others and call out to the Lord.  And if I do so the Lord will turn to me as he turned to the man in the Gospel and say, “What do you want me to do for you?”

And the Lord turns to each one of us, to all in whatever state we exist, and says “What do you want me to do for you?”  What would you answer?  What would I?  Would we ask for money or food so that we may exist for a few more days on the roadside before we continue our own begging outside Jericho?  Or would we have the courage to ask for our sight?  Because it does require courage, the courage to get up and be responsible for ourselves no longer with blindness as an excuse.  The courage to begin the ascent, along with Christ and the man who had been blind, towards Jerusalem where we must face our own suffering.  It would be easy—“comfortable” even—to stay in my own self-pity by the road but the Lord gives me the opportunity to journey to the Cross with him.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what do you want the Lord to do for you?  Do you ask him to give you trinkets in this life—to be your fairy-godmother, your own genie in a lamp—or for the power and grace to walk with him?  But if we walk with him it will be a way of suffering and self-denial—we will be given our own cross to carry alongside his, led to our own Golgotha, to our own tomb.  Yet if we ask, as did the blind man, for our sight to be restored and journey with the Lord, we may come also to Resurrection and the fulness life.

What do you want the Lord to do for you?

To our crucified and risen Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ be all glory, honour and worship, together with his unoriginate Father and the All-holy, Good and Life-giving Spirit.  Amen.

Timothy, my son, the saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners; but I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory to the ages of ages. Amen.
— 1 Timothy 1:15–17

At that time, as Jesus drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging; and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” And he cried, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped, and commanded him to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me receive my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
— Luke 18:35–43