Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Shrove Tuesday - Quinquagesima Gospel

S. Luke 18. 31 THEN Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge him, and put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken. And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way-side begging: and hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight; thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

The juxtaposition in this gospel is priceless -- the disciples don't understand what Jesus is trying to tell them about his necessary journey to the cross -- they are spiritually blind -- but then a blind beggar is able to see who Jesus is, and receive healing. So often, those in power within churches can fail to see where Christ is leading us -- and often, those on the margins can see more clearly.

One of the great spiritual movements of the twentieth century is the twelve-step movement, begun with Alcoholics Anonymous. The first step is "we admitted we had a problem . . . " -- and in this gospel, it is the blind one who can admit and "see" his blindness who is healed -- not the disciples, who cannot even understand that they are spiritually blind.

This Lent, let us "open our eyes" to our blindness, so that we may be healed and become able to see.

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