Friday, December 4, 2015

Dec. 4, 2015 Friday: St. John of Damacene

Dec. 4, 2015 Friday: St. John of Damascene

Today’s gospel scene is unusual, even mysterious and almost funny. Imagine two blind men running after Christ. And Jesus lets them run! Certainly they fell, tripped and bruised themselves along the way. Undoubtedly they must have been a little afraid or nervous but their desire to be healed and their faith in Christ was greater than any of the physical, emotional or psychological obstacles. It is only when He enters a house that they can finally pin Him down and have their prayer request answered. This is quite strange because usually Jesus is quite eager to cure people and in this gospel scene, He makes hard for these two blind men to grant their request. Why is this?

This is maybe because God sometimes delays to answer our own prayers. In the sense that too often, our desires are shallow and God allows more time to deepen them. There are times, however, when God would desire to answer our prayers, but is hindered by our own actions and attitudes, since He will only act in consistency with His own holy nature and loving wisdom. Some of those hindrances are listed below:

Sin in the heart: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD will not hear me”
Unforgiving attitude: “When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance…..” (Mark 11:25).
Carnal motive: “You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions,” (James 4:3).
Selfish family relations: “Likewise, you husbands should live with your wives in understanding, showing honor to the weaker female sex, since we are joint heirs of the gift of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered,” (I Peter 3:7).
Unbelief: “But he should ask in faith, not doubting….For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord,” (James 1:6, 7).

And so, let us enlarge our desires and hearts too, it is because St. Paul said:”God is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine,” (Eph 3:20).

-Fr. Joseph Benitez

For you, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits; truly my hope is in you.
O Lord of Light, our only hope of glory,
your radiance shines in all who look to you,
come light the hearts of all in dark and shadow.
For you, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits; truly my hope is in you.

—Marty Haugen, “My Soul in Stillness Waits,”