The excerpt from the Gospel of Luke has a well-known healing story of the blind man. A usual reflection on this story is the value of persistence of prayer. The blind man calls out to Jesus for his mercy, and so we need to pray continually for the things we desire and need from God. However, the excerpt considered within its larger context of Luke’s narrative provides a different challenge to us.
The healing of the blind man falls within a series of other stories centered on unlikely figures for Jesus’ attention. Before the blind man is the story where Jesus welcomes the children to come to him (Lk 18: 15-17). After the blind man is Zacchaeus, the tax collector who welcomes Jesus and promises to give half his possessions to the poor (Lk 19: 1-10). None of these figures to their Jewish contemporaries would have been deserving of salvation or worth Jesus’ time. Yet, they are the persons who desire to be with Jesus, and Jesus with them.
The collection of people in these stories pose a significant question: who can be saved? It is the question that Jesus’ disciples ask amidst all of these encounters Jesus has. Luke’s answer seems to be everyone. Jesus has come to save all, especially the downtrodden, lowly, and oppressed. No one is excluded besides those who exclude themselves from thinking they do not belong among the vulnerable in society. Experiences of vulnerability or encountering the vulnerable is when we come to see the need for Jesus to reach into our world to heal us.
Is there an individual or a group about whom I struggle to see his/her/their value? Do I pray to see people as Jesus sees them? When was the last time I felt rejected? How was Jesus present to me during this time?