"What do you want me to do for you?" (Luke 18:40).
(Stare for 30 seconds at the image with today's reflection, then look at a blank surface. What do you see? Was this what the blind man in today's Gospel saw after he was healed?)
The Lectionary brings us again the familiar story of the blind man who has to shout his prayer over the din and dismissive abuse of the crowd in order to get to Jesus.
One message of today's Gospel is that God always hears the cry of the poor. The divine ear, even when jammed with the clamor of every conceivable request and the roar of words being constantly directed at God, is fine-tuned to pick up the voice of suffering that comes from the heart.
Jesus hears the voice of the blind man, stops and "orders that he be brought to him." Real authority is shaping this tumultuous scene on the road to Jericho, and the crowd gives way as the poor blind beggar approaches him. The crowd is silent, every eye fixed on Jesus, who asks the man, "What do you want me to do for you?"
The question goes to the heart of every person in the crowd. What would I ask for? What is my greatest need, my heart's desire, the one wish that would change my life dramatically?
The blind beggar answers from the darkness that has defined his entire life, made him helpless and dependent on others, brought him to a life of misery sitting on the side of the road calling out to passerbys to throw him a coin so he could eat that day. With utmost courtesy and determination, he says to Jesus: "Lord, please let me see."
We know the rest of the story. Jesus not only restores the man's physical sight, but gives him the insight to rise from his beggar's place on the sidelines to follow Jesus on the road. He is now a disciple. He has heard the voice of Jesus, and now he has seen the face of Jesus, and his new life will be with Jesus.
Let us rise from whatever darkness we have known in our own spiritual quest to find God. Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. Bring your deepest prayer to the surface and tell him what you want. Then be prepared to dedicate yourself to him as a disciple, for the road ahead is the road to glory.