As we minister and seek to serve those on the peripheries we are called to see them as valuable and desirable to God. As I either walk our streets or drive through my parish I see so many Persons suffering, in need and even desperation. To often we become blinded by the overwhelming addiction, poverty and sickness and like the disciples in Mark’s Gospel we want them to just go away, to stop bothering us. The news of more gun violence in my community and I’m wondering what to do and how to respond. How can we be blind and not see that our young people are crying out? There is so much need we too want it to just stop, but like Jesus says, “Take courage; get up.” We have to have the courage to love our young people enough to include them, hear them and care for them.
As I kneel in my chapel preparing to preach for the weekend, my heart goes out to those who for whatever reason have made the wrong choice. As I ask for the words to give strength and encouragement. We cannot sit in judgement or blame blinded by the overwhelming reality, and the complexity of the challenges, there is no quick fix to stop the pain, the suffering and the violence. I can only rise from that kneeler, approach God’s Word with conviction because the Word of God is crying out to me and to you, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
My Sisters and Brothers this is a collective call, a communal challenge, an inclusive invitation to change our Posture and Position. Watch what happened. Bartameus who is blind hears a noice, a ruckus in the crowd that is moving with Jesus. Surely he had heard of the wonder healer, the man who made to dumb speak and the deaf hear. Watch what he does, He begins to cry out!, to shout out! and in doing so is walking into his restoration. Jesus says “Call him” and having been told to rise and have courage he is now stepping into his healing. He is acting like it’s so. In throwing off his cloak he rids himself of the symbol of his blindness, he steps toward Jesus expecting that he will be restored. I say restored because no longer is he blind and begging, but he is placed back into right relationship with the community and with God. He is also called to mission to follow Jesus.
This week is Mission Sunday and the call to mission takes place within a clear concrete context of which I began this reflection. But like the Gospel message we must find courage in the voice of Jesus, calling us from our blindness of fear and confusion, to the hope and courage to, Rise, take courage Jesus is calling Us!