Monday, November 20, 2006

33rd Monday in Ordinary Time (II)
Hunger and Thirst


Readings: Revelation 1:1-4; 2:1-5; Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6; Luke 18:35-43

You have less love now than you used to. This is the Lord’s critique of the church in Ephesus, even as he praises them for their diligence, discernment and patience. What is the Lord referring to? We don’t have the details. But we might be led to reflect on some of our own relationships – on how they begin and how they continue. Isn’t it true that the beginnings are often characterized by hunger and thirst – a desire to get to know the other more, to be with the other? And isn’t it true, at least for some, that as time goes on there is a danger of taking the other for granted. The hunger has been satisfied, the thirst has been quenched, or so we think. The relationship continues but we have less love, as it were, now than we used to.

How different it is with the blind man in the gospel. Here’s a person who’s quite obviously hungry and thirsty. He’s poor and blind. He begs for a living. He begs Jesus for his sight. And we may also notice how, perhaps because he is blind, his other faculties are used to the full to help him get that for which he hungers. He listens out for the Lord’s passing. He shouts persistently to get the Lord’s attention.

And even after he gets what he wants, even after Jesus heals him and he receives his sight, he continues to hunger and thirst. He follows the Lord on the road to Jerusalem, all the while praising God.

There’s at least one more significant point in the story of the blind man’s healing, found only in Luke’s version. We are told that all the people who saw it gave praise to God for what had happened. The man’s hunger and thirst, his love for the Lord, quite naturally had an effect on the people around him. They too were drawn more deeply into relationship. They too were inspired to continue hungering and thirsting.

In this second to last week of our church’s year, what is the state of our own relationship with the Lord, the intensity of our love? How hungry, how thirsty are we?

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