Reflections: Quinquagesima

Today’s Reading: Luke 18:31-43

Daily Lectionary: Job 30:16-31; John 9:1-23

And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:39)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The crowd is so offended that someone would actually need something from the Jesus who just promised to be crucified and rise from the dead to save sinners. One thing hasn’t changed about the crowds who gather for the “Jesus Show.” For all the talk about God’s being our Savior, it’s amazing how quickly we turn on each other when someone actually needs help. It starts inside ourselves with the shame we feel in having to depend on help ourselves. It’s quite something to acknowledge that I actually am so broken that I need it. I’m not just here at church for the nice feeling, the community, or even just theology to study and understand. I need help. Enough to be desperate for it. Enough to beg for it. That’s harder. 

Because it feels like the rest of the crowd is just here to lend their support, and you’re the one guy in the whole place who’s different, less, and sadly, even rebuked sometimes. We want to measure gain, not loss, and show that we don’t need anything. The closer we get to that, the further we get from love. Honestly, the farther we get from God, too. 

Ours is a merciful God. It’s a truth you hear and even sing every week. It is seen in the simplest prayer of the Church, the same one in this text: the Kyrie. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. This prayer is what the world doesn’t understand about the Church. We have a God who helps sinners. The people who see more clearly than anyone are the ones in need, even if they’re blind. 

The blind man saw something everyone else missed, and understood something that even the disciples didn’t. God came to help those in need. Need, as in, you can’t “just get better.” Can’t just quit. God came to be merciful, to the degree that He would be delivered over to the Gentiles, be mocked and shamefully treated, and spit upon. And after flogging Him, they would kill Him, and on the Third Day He would rise. This is what mercy looks like. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O Lord, mercifully hear our prayers, and having set us free from the bonds of our sins, deliver us from every evil; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Quinquagesima)

-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Discover new insights from each line of the Psalms in Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer. Read, repeat, and return to the Lord as you walk through all 150 Psalms. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.