May the grace and peace of God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
At the end of chapter 18 in Luke’s Gospel, we read the story of Jesus healing the blind man at the gate of Jericho. That story begins with these words:
As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening.They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazarethis passing by’. Then he shouted, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’
For many of us, in the early days of lockdown, there was a novelty about being at home all day. We gradually got into a daily routine of work and exercise, cooking and relaxation. Maybe we had plans for the films we’d watch, the books we’d read and the messy cupboards we’d sort out.
Now, so many weeks on, the novelty has worn off and many people find these days difficult. Many of us are longing for them to finish and just waiting for the time when we’ll all be together again. This has become a time of waiting.
Understandable though this is, the risk about living our lives waiting for the future is that we miss the richness in the present. If that blind man had not been living in the present he would have missed Jesus who was passing by. Jesus encounters us in the present. That’s the richness of the present moment. And for the blind man, that encounter changed his life.
In the first of his “apostolic exhortations” published in December 2013, entitled the “Joy of the Gospel”, Pope Francis issued this invitation
I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day … The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms.
But how can it be that Jesus comes close to us today as he once came close to that blind beggar? Jesus himself once said “when I was hungry you gave me something to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me something to drink…”
Jesus said he is present in the people we meet each day, above all in the needy people we meet every day. The neighbour needing help with shopping. The elderly relative waiting for a phone call. The person at work suffering from mental illness.
As the Pope is fond of saying, the “poor are the flesh of Christ”. In responding generously to those in need of any kind, we are responding to Jesus with love too. Such is the richness of the present moment which may just pass us by if we live waiting for the future, a future which may never come, at least not in the way we expect.
I pray in gratitude, Lord Jesus, for the gift of today, for the gift of life and the gift of love;for the people I live with, the people to whom in any way I will reach out.May they see in me your face,Hear in me your voiceAs I respond to them with love,This day and always, Amen.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.