The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Are there any blind-spots in your life that keep you from recognizing God’s power and mercy? When two blind men heard that Jesus was passing their way, they followed him and begged for his mercy. The word mercyliterally means “sorrowful at heart”. But mercy is something more than compassion, or heartfelt sorrow at another person’s misfortune. Compassion empathizes with the sufferer. But mercy goes further; it removes suffering. A merciful person shares in another person’s misfortune and suffering as if it were their own.
God shows mercy to those who recognize their need for his forgiveness and healing
When two blind men approached Jesus, he questioned their earnestness. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” Jesus put them to the test, not to rebuff them, but to strengthen their faith and trust in God’s mercy. He touched their eyes, both to identify with their affliction and to awaken faith in them. Their faith grew as they responded to his word with confident hope. Jesus restored their sight – both physically and spiritually to the reality of God’s kingdom. Faith opens the way for us to see the power of God’s kingdom and to experience his healing presence in our lives.
In Jesus we see the fulness of God’s mercy and the power of his kingdom – power to save from death and destruction, to forgive sins and lift the burden of guilt, and to heal infirmities and release the oppressed. Jesus never refused to bring God’s mercy to those who earnestly sought it. How can we seek and obtain God’s mercy? God gives mercy to the lowly in heart – to those who recognize their need for God and for his forgiveness and healing power.
God transforms those who put their hope and trust in him
God wants to change and transform our lives to set us free to live as his sons and daughters and citizens of his kingdom. Faith is key to this transformation. How can we grow in faith? Faith is a gift freely given by God to help us know God personally, to understand his truth, and to live in the power of his love. For faith to be effective it must be linked with trust and obedience – an active submission to God and a willingness to do whatever he commands. The Lord Jesus wants us to live in the confident expectation that he will fulfill his promises to us and bring us into the fulness of his kingdom – a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Do you know the peace and joy of God’s kingdom?
“Lord Jesus, help me to draw near to you with faith and trust in your saving power and mercy. Free me from doubt and unbelief that I may approach you confidently and pray boldly with expectant faith. Let your kingdom come and may your will be done in me.”
“When He got to the house, the blind men caught up with Him. Jesus said to them, ‘Are you confident I can do this?’ ” —Matthew 9:28
Are you confident that in “a very little while” (Is 29:17), at this Christmas, the Lord will do even more than we ever asked or imagined? (Eph 3:20) He promises “the eyes of the blind shall see”; “the deaf shall hear the words of a book” (Is 29:18) — and this is only the beginning. Honestly, many of us would have to admit that we do believe, yet need God’s help with our lack of faith (Mk 9:24). This is one of the main purposes of Advent. All depends on faith, including Christmas (Rm 4:16).
Christ has a glorious Christmas ready for us, but we don’t have the faith to claim it. We need time to build our faith. We need Advent. We must repent and hear the Word of the Lord. We must change from “doubting Thomas” to one of those wise men and women who take God at His Word and receive their glorious inheritance.
Is your faith stronger on this sixth day of Advent than it was a week ago? It should be. Will your faith be even stronger tomorrow? It will be, if God has His way. Let the Lord build your faith this Advent so you can build His kingdom this Christmas and New Year.
Prayer: Father, for starters, give me faith to move mountains, mustard-seed faith (Mt 17:20). Promise: “Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, and those who find fault shall receive instruction.” —Is 29:24 Praise: St. John of Damascus blessed the Church with his writings defending the Faith.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements