An Advent Question
Just before the encounter with the blind men in today’s gospel, is the beautiful story of Jesus healing a woman suffering from hemorrhages and bringing a little girl back to life. That story ends, “And news of this spread throughout all that land.” When the news reached the blind men in today’s story, it must have stirred in them deep questions and feelings.
I imagine their conversation with one another was interesting. “Do you think he could help us?” “After all these years, could we actually be healed?” “I don’t want to get my hopes up.” I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them finally argued, “We might as well try. What have we got to lose?”
So they set out and follow Jesus, and at some point muster the courage to cry out for mercy. That gets Jesus’ attention. I bet they aren’t expecting a question, especially such a probing question. They want so badly to see, and Jesus wants that too, but it turns out he wants more. Much more. Do you believe I can do this? Time and time again in the gospels, we see that Jesus depends upon our faith to answer our prayers. Jesus wants and needs us to participate in our healing, and the healing of our world.
The Incarnation is a story of God trusting us, and entrusting himself to us. During Advent, we are invited to respond in faith, believing that God is not yet finished with us. I know what it’s like to pray in the midst of doubt. I might as well try. What have I got to lose? I have no doubt Jesus hears those prayers, and loves me as I pray them. I also know that Jesus longs for me to be with him, to trust him, and to entrust myself to him. Take Lord, receive…
Call to mind your most sincere prayer these days, the deepest desire of your heart. Do you believe I can do this? That’s a great Advent question.
Fr. Michael Gilson, S.J., is in his seventh year as the Provincial’s Assistant for Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education for Jesuits West. He has been a teacher and coach at several high schools in our province.