Saturday, October 31, 2009

If You Got One Wish

Last week's Gospel reading (Mark 10:46-52) was the story about Bartimaeus, a blind man who's persistence led Jesus to restore his sight.

Just about every homily and sermon I have heard on this passage highlights what great faith Bartimaeus showed. This is true, of course. People all around him were shouting at him and telling him to keep quiet. But he persisted. He kept calling for Jesus.

That in itself is a beautiful lesson for all of us.

But the part that always gives me pause is what happened next.

Jesus asked Bartimaeus "
What do you want me to do for you?"

His response?


Oh how I wish he had been like that thief crucified next to Jesus, and asked for a ticket to Paradise instead! I always wondered why this poor man wasted his "one wish" on such a physical, worldly thing, when he could have asked for something so much greater! After all, his sight came with an expiration date. But a place in the Kingdom would have been forever!

Of course, every time I lament about his "wish", I realize that there have been plenty of times in my life where I did the exact same thing. Times where I asked for - or worried about - silly things. Meaningless things. Times I pestered God for things that He knew weren't important. Times I should have been "asking" God for a seat at His table instead.

And so, whenever I hear this passage, I stop and thank Bartimaeus for giving me a lesson in persistence.

And then I thank him for, inadvertently, giving me a good dose of perspective as well.

God Bless.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pray Like it's 1999

What have you been doing since 1999?

(That's ten years ago, for those of you keeping score.)

If you are like me, and the years are starting to blur together, here are some random events from 1999 to give you some perspective:
  • The Euro was born
  • The first episode of Sponge Bob SquarePants aired
  • The DOW crossed 10,000 for the first time (ironic, as we just crossed it again)
  • Apple launched the first iBook (not iPhone)
  • Exxon completed its merger with Mobil
  • JFK Jr. died
  • Fight Club and Matrix were top movies
Oh, and some folks in Kansas City started praying.

And haven't stopped since.

St. Paul tells us to "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess 5:17), and the folks at the International House of Prayer in KC have been doing just that.

Ten straight years of prayer. Day and night.

I can't even remember watching the Matrix for the first time, and these people have been praising God relentlessly ever since.

And as I think back to some of the silly ways I spent my time over the past ten years, I ask myself, "Who spent their time more wisely, these people or me?"

(Please don't answer that, I already know who.)

May God continue to inspire the folks at the International House of Prayer.
And may they, in turn, continue to be an inspiration for all of us.

God Bless.