Friday, November 2, 2012

Mark 10:46-52 — There is something troubling in this incident from the ministry of Jesus. On their way to Jerusalem, Jesus and His disciples stopped at Jericho, a beautiful oasis in the desert. When leaving, and we’re clearly told that many people accompanied Him, a blind beggar calls out to Jesus. Many of these disciples, including the Twelve Apostles, had spent three years with Jesus. They
had seen Him heal, console, forgive, and teach. They had witnessed miracles one after another. They knew what He could do. Yet, they told the blind beggar to be quiet, instead of eagerly bringing him to Jesus. When Jesus did heal blindness that day, it was more than the physical blindness of the beggar. Many persons were guilty of discipleship failure that day, and He opened the eyes of His disciples once again, to help them see their role.

What is truly troubling is that many of Jesus’ disciples today are guilty of the same discipleship failure. Many of us gripe and complain about the spiritual blindness of our society, but fail to do anything about it. We know, as the disciples in Jericho did, what Jesus can do: we know how He can heal, teach, forgive, reconcile, and we know the joy and peace of being in right relationship with God, the wonder of seeing God in all things. Yet, we pass by the spiritually blind every day and fail to lead them to Christ.

We all know someone – a family member, a child, a parent, a colleague, a classmate at school, a neighbor – who could benefit from being part of the family of Christ. Why not lead that person to Christ? Why not ask that person to come to church with you next Sunday? Why not bring that person to something in the parish, whether Bible Study or faith-sharing, adult education, a youth group meeting, a support group, a meal or social event, or an athletic or recreational event?

We all know someone to whom we’ll say, “I’ll pray for you,” and then we walk away. Why not say, “Let’s pray right now," and then spend a few moments right then and there praying together? Why not find one of the CD’s or books on the bookcases in the church, and hand it to someone: “I saw this at my church and I thought you might like it.” Don’t be guilty of discipleship failure – take them by the hand and lead them to Christ!

When Pope Benedict XVI called the Catholic Church to a “Year of Faith,” begin just a few weeks ago, he did so in the context of a rapidly growing number of people who claim not to believe in God or be part of a church. In the United States, a very recent study by the Pew Research group brought responses showing 25% of Americans – more than at any time in our history – are unchurched or claim not to believe in God. Our Church began and grew to every part of the planet as the most powerful evangelical force ever unleashed on Earth, but after a few centuries we turned from mission to maintenance. We have for too long spent our energies on simply maintaining our faith, while around us the culture sank lower and lower.

We all know this. We see the moral and spiritual blindness all around us, just as the many disciples in Jericho saw the blind beggar in the dirt. Our Church changed culture and civilization before, and we can do it again, but only if you and I don’t suffer from discipleship failure. Go to Bartimaeus, take him by the hand, and lead him to Christ.
October 28, 2012
Msgr. William J. King

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