The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home
October 28, 2018 – 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Mark 10:46-52
Sometimes students find it hard to ask a question. They don’t want to bother the esteemed teacher. Sometimes children have difficulty in asking for things from parents. Sometimes people remain silent although they really need a helping hand from a friend. Sometimes men don’t ask for directions because they don’t want to appear inept. We seem to assume that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Grow up and be independent, we are taught. Don’t be a beggar. Don’t be dependent on others.
If we are among those who don’t ask questions, seek advice, or ask for help when needed, we will not understand today’s gospel story. It’s about a blind beggar who persisted in asking Jesus for help, even against the warnings of others.
Clearly, the man was desperate. He once had vision, but lost it. How terribly hard it must have been. Most likely he was unable to work. So he did what others in his situation did. He begged. Learning that Jesus was close by, he cried out, “Jesus, have pity on me.”
And Jesus did. He healed the man’s blindness not by making a special concession for this poor, helpless man, but by praising the man’s courage and willingness to ask for help. His faith and persistence made the difference. He believed Jesus could help him.
Some of us don’t like to ask God (or anyone) for help. Maybe we think it’s selfish to do so. Maybe we don’t want to bother God with requests, thinking that God has much more important matters to attend to. Maybe we simply want to be in charge and independent.
But as we observe in today’s gospel, Jesus wants us to ask for God’s help. In fact, this is partly why God became flesh. To help us! To offer to us all we need to be good persons, holy persons. Jesus came to build us up, not tear us down. Asking for God’s help is to admit that we need God’s help. And we do.
If God withdrew support for us for even a second, we would vanish into nothingness. When Jesus gave his grand instruction on prayer, he intentionally put a request of God right in the middle: Give us this day our daily bread. Ask and you shall receive. It is a sign of strength to ask for divine assistance. So ask help for yourself, for your children, for anyone you know needs it. And we all do.
©David M. Thomas, PhD