Gospel: (Mark 10:46-52)
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples, Bartimaeus, a blind man, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” Many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
The dynamic between Bartimaeus and Jesus is a perfect description of what faith is: Bartimaeus heard Jesus, cried out to him, persisted in his prayer, came to Jesus when he called, and spoke boldly of his need. All these actions: hearing, crying out, coming, speaking describe our Christian discipleship. We must let our faith lead us to Jesus and then we must follow him. Without persistence in prayer it will be impossible for us to follow Jesus faithfully on the road of self–giving. The encounter with Jesus in prayer keeps our relationship with God healthy and strong. The prayer of petition reminds us that disciples can do nothing on their own without Jesus’ help. At times we are doing our faith by reaching out to those around us in need; at other times we are being our faith by taking time to let our God be present to us in prayer. (Living Liturgy, p.232)
Our Lord wants us to persevere in prayer and not be discouraged because God seems slow in answering our prayers. Perhaps the reason we become discouraged in prayer is that we feel in a vague way that God is not taking us seriously. The truth is that it is not God who fails to take us seriously when we pray to Him, but rather we fail to take God seriously. Sometimes in our heart of hearts we pray without full confidence that He is going to give us what we ask. I wonder if God is slow in answering our prayers at times in order to perfect the confidence which He wishes us to have in Him who is our Father. Sometimes the reason of God’s delay in answering our prayers is that He wants to make us ready to accept what He desires to give us. (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p. 142-3)
Discussion: (Share your thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence)
When have you found that sometimes God seems slow in answering your prayers?
Closing Prayer: For the sick and the poor who wait for healing, -Lord, hear our prayer. For the grace to persevere in prayer and trust in God, -Lord, hear our prayer. Amen