By Michael Smith

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 18:31-43 

31 Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. 33 After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again.” 34 But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

35 As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 Then he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me see again.” 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” 43 Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.

Meditation

The healing of blindness or restoration of sight is a dramatic genre of miracle stories in the gospels and in Christian tradition as well. Probably no words are more familiar in this vein than “I once was lost but now I’m found / Was blind, but now I see” from the hymn “Amazing Grace.” The poem, written by Anglican clergyman John Newton in the 18th century, recalls his conversion story. Involved with the Atlantic slave trade, Newton cried out to God for mercy during a during a severe storm at sea. His repentance and journey to God, however, was a gradual process. His eyes were not opened overnight. It took him time to see all the dimensions of his need for repentance and its necessary changes. He continued in the slave trade for several more years before becoming an abolitionist and an Anglican priest.

In the Christian mystical tradition, the “illuminative way” is the middle stage between the “purgative” and “unitive.” It is a time when those seeking deeper intimacy with God in their spiritual relationship begin to have their eyes opened to deeper realities in the Scriptures, in themselves, and in the world around them. Today, listen to Jesus ask: “What do you want me to do for you?” Be ready to receive your sight.

Michael G. Smith served as bishop of North Dakota for fifteen years and is currently the Assistant Bishop of Dallas. He works with the Navajoland Iona Collaborative and is a Benedictine Oblate and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of East Carolina
The Diocese of New Hampshire