People around him try to stop him, but the blind man cries louder, “Jesus of Nazareth, have mercy on me.” Hearing the cry, Jesus stood still. What a marvelous revelation of God this is! Jesus was no doubt on His way to some important mission. But above the noise of the crowd He heard the cry for help, and He stopped. “And Jesus stood still,” says the Bible. Omnipotence stops on its way to hear the cry of human sorrow and misery! Prayer has the power to stop God and center His attention upon you — just you. Suppose the blind man had not prayed? Jesus would have passed him by. And how many needs are there in your life that are not met simply because you have not prayed? How many times has God passed you by because you did not ask Him to stop?“And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22). The limit God places is not on His ability or willingness to give, but on our willingness to ask and our capacity to believe. No greater moment comes into the life of any person than when, out of a recognition of need and faith in Christ’s power to meet that need, he falls on his knees in humility and begins to pray.
This man whose prayer stopped Jesus was not the ruler of the country, not some very prominent or influential person; he was a mere beggar. He was a man who was on the very bottom of the social ladder. But in the face of the need of just one obscure person, the Son of God stopped, gave him His full attention, and made available His mighty power.
“Jesus stopped … and asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ He said, ‘Lord, let me receive my sight.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight, your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he received his sight and followed him…” Jesus opened his eyes. He restored his sight. And the blind man saw. He saw not only the light of day. He saw also the light of life: Jesus. And “he followed him/’ says the Gospel. When we come to Jesus He always restores to us our spiritual sight. He enables us to see things we never saw before. Such sight changes a man’s life. He lives no longer for the passing things of this world, but for the things that endure, that last unto eternity. Such sight requires a man to walk away from his beggar’s mat into the discipleship of Christ, away from prejudice into a life of love and brotherhood, away from sin to a new life in Christ Jesus. When the blind beggar received his sight “he followed Jesus.” He had had enough of darkness. Now he would live in the presence of Him who was and is and will ever be “the light of the world.”
When the blind beggar heard that “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,” he seized life’s greatest opportunity and he received his sight. Life’s greatest opportunity for us, too, is that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by — today, now! He continually knocks on the door of our hearts. He reveals Himself to us in the Bible. He speaks to us through the Church. He offers Himself to us through the Sacraments. He is always just a prayer away from us.
Yet, are we, like the blind beggar, aware that Jesus is passing by? Do we profit by His presence or do we remain silent and inactive until He is gone? The blind beggar might have sat beside the road, listening and wondering, but doing nothing until his great opportunity had passed him by and he would have remained merely the blind beggar by the roadside. How many of us are doing just that? If we allow Jesus to pass by unheeded, we shall remain poor, blind beggars who failed to respond, to seize the opportunity that would have given us sight, light, happiness, joy and fulfillment beyond our highest expectation, leading on to life eternal as joint heirs of Jesus.
As in the case of the woman with the sick child who slammed the door shut on the only person who could heal her child, the greatest tragedy of life is not in what we suffer, but in what we miss!
To miss Christ is to miss all. To gain Christ is to gain all. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” says Jesus. The door is your heart and mine. Will you slam the door shut with your indifference, or will you take advantage of life’s greatest opportunity and invite Him into your life?
Fr A Coniaris