Some years ago, my family doctor recommended that I see a psychologist. To my great surprise and joy, by the end of the third session with the psychologist, we had gotten to the troublesome issue that had been impacting me physically. The renewal I experienced in the following weeks was so great that I gave serious thought to taking up studies in psychology. Similarly, reflective response to the liberating grace of God often leads to a desire to partner with God in setting others free.
This is what we see in our reading for today as Bartimaeus responds to his deliverance from blindness. He “followed Jesus along the road,” and what a road this was! Indeed, five chapters later Mark tells us that Jesus was judged and, though found innocent, was handed over to those who meant him no good. He was then nailed to a cross on which he died a horrible death. What a road this was for Bartimaeus who had just come from darkness to light! It really shouldn’t surprise us, though. When God sets us free, we have an urge to set others free. And sometimes we find ourselves doing so at great cost.
Our response to God’s liberating grace leads us to strange places. May we graciously remain open to this reality, for even in those places, God is with us.
Liberating God, grant that I may never take your goodness for granted. As you set us free, increase our desire to set others free and continue to prepare us for our contribution to your work. Amen.
Sometimes we can look back and see why challenging things happened to us, but this is not always the case. Job never fully understood his story but finally submitted his life to God in humility. In Job’s case, God restored with abundance. The psalmist also rejoices that although the righteous may suffer, God brings ultimate restoration. The reading from Hebrews continues celebrating Christ’s role as the compassionate high priest. Unlike human high priests, who serve only for a time, Christ remains our priest forever. A man without sight in Jericho knows of Jesus’ compassion and cries out for it, despite attempts to silence him. He asks Jesus for mercy, physical healing in his case, and Jesus grants his request because the man has displayed great faith.
Read Job 42:1-6, 10-17. What are your happy and unhappy endings? How do you acknowledge both?
Read Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22. How does God deliver you from your fears? Recall a recent experience of this.
Read Hebrews 7:23-28. What distinction do you draw between sacrifice and offering?
Read Mark 10:46-52. How do you respond to Jesus’ question, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.