Scripture: Lectionary 497: I Maccabees 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63. Psalm
119: Luke 18:35-43

Monday's Readings

Luke’s Journey Narrative is coming to an end as Jesus is leaving the area
near the oldest city known in those times, Jericho.  We have followed Jesus
with his disciples on this journey and have learned the meaning and cost of
discipleship. Jesus has been teaching the lessons we need to know ever
sense he began the journey which Luke narrates as far back as 9:51. Luke
has so focused on the end of the journey in Jerusalem that all
topographical reference to any other place than Jerusalem is suppressed. We
recall the opening line of the journey with Jesus that Luke gave us, “When
the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to
Jerusalem.” (Journey Narrative 9:51-19:46).  Fr. Lagrange, O.P. the great
Dominican exegete and founder of the Ecole Biblique and its continuing
periodical “Etudes Biblique” says, “ In vain do we try to discover where he
is; we know only that he is still in the land of Israel because there is no
indication that he has left it. Apart from references to Jerusalem there is
no indication of place; the scene is always just “somewhere.”

An extraordinary healing takes place near Jericho.  A blind man cries out
and prays,”Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”  He pays no attention to
the crowd but keeps praying in his outcry, “Son of David, have pity upon
me.”  We are familiar with his prayer and call it the “Jesus Prayer.” It
has become a traditional part of Christian prayer through the Byzantine
Church and now is mainstream for us.  We learn much from its simplicity,
its total trust in the person of Jesus, and its absolute surrender to the
will of God. Jesus stops and asks him what he wants and he continues his
prayer, “Lord, that I may see.”  This is our prayer as learners on the way
with Jesus; it is the prayer of a disciple.  We see in the narrative that
Luke gives us a threefold progress in the expression of the man’s prayer
and we do well to imitate this prayer of faith that comes from the depths
of the blind person’s heart.  It is simple, pure, and profound.  There is
no bargaining tone within his prayer;  nor any pretense that his prayer is
the only way to pray.  This comes from his faith and his absolute surrender
to whatever Jesus wants.  The second step is the direct address to Jesus
and the third is certainly consonant with Luke’s prayer motif seen in the
light of the Resurrection of Jesus.  We have Jesus listening to the prayer
of  the blind man,  and the Evangelist Luke praying this formula.  It has
to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and Luke knows that full well. The
reverence and trust is so evident in this short episode on the way up to
Jerusalem.  We hear at the end of it that the man followed Jesus—the exact
words used for disciples who are followers and learners of Jesus on the way
up to Jerusalem.

Luke, the Evangelist of Prayer, helps us to be one in prayer with this
blind man.  We are led to pray as he did with simplicity, clarity, and
profound trust and belief in the person of Jesus.  Here are the three
expressions used in the man’s prayer:

Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.

Son of David, have pity on me.

Lord, I want to see.    Amen.