October 23

Mark 10:46-48

“Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” vs. 48

When Jesus and his followers passed through Jericho, a prosperous oasis town near the Jordan, its citizens took notice. Among them was Bartimaus, a blind beggar, and he called out at the top of his lungs, “Jesus…have mercy on me.” And many ordered him to be quiet! We can understand their reaction. It’s like that with the poor and needy in our communities too. We know they are present and see them every day, but we don’t want them to make a nuisance of themselves. Sometimes they hold up hand-lettered cardboard signs on street corners–and it irritates us. We’d like them to be arrested. Occasionally they even show up at our churches–they know about Jesus and think that maybe his followers will give them help. Like Bartimaus they cry out “Have mercy!” And mostly we don’t like that–we’d like the needy among us to remain invisible–it’s embarrassing when we have to deal with them. But they’re not going to shut up or go away. More and more people are becoming homeless–and they’re going to keep on expecting that Jesus’s people will have mercy on them. It’s right for them to feel that way–the big question is our response. We want so much to live comfortable lives in safe communities, and the poor are such a nuisance. Why can’t they all just go away?

Thought for the Day: How do I really feel about beggars?

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