January 8, 2018

Post-feast of Theophany; Our Venerable Father George the Chosebite (610-41); Our Venerable Mother Dominica (474-91); and Emilian the Confessor

James 2:14-26; Mark 10:46-52

Christ is baptized! In the Jordan!

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” This is the cry of a desperate man. Bartimaeus is willing to ignore the crowds who try to silence him in his deep distress. After all, he is blind, poor, a beggar, likely homeless, and probably without family – he has absolutely nothing to lose.

There is a lesson here for us about prayer, and about our own relationship with Jesus. Strange as it may seem, we have to pray like Bartimaeus – as if we have nothing to lose. And what’s more, we have to live as if we have nothing to lose. Even when we look around us and see a job with potential, a family we want to make stronger, a safe place to live, even some savings for the future, we have to live as if our safety and security, as if our only light in a world where we are blind, comes from Christ. We need to be generous with our money, giving it away to teach ourselves that it really isn’t ours to begin with. We need to be generous with our time, sharing it with others even when we are tired, frustrated, and in need of a rest, since our time too is a gift from God. And we need to live in our relationships as if they are all subsidiary to the truly important relationship, the one with God. If we do these things, we’ll come to see how much we depend on God for everything, and then our prayer will be purified – we’ll see how much we need God, and be able to cry out with Bartimaeus, in absolute desperation, but also in absolute confidence, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

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