24 October, Sunday — Enablers or Disablers?

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jer 31:7-9
Heb 5:1-6
Mk 10:46-52                                                                                              

‘Courage’, they said ‘get up; he is calling you’

Today’s Gospel talks about the blind man who calls out to Jesus, asking to be healed of his blindness. This particular story talks about unabashed faith; about being unafraid to step up and call out to our Lord and God, to bravely lift our needs to Him.

What piqued my interest, however, was not the blind man himself, but those around him. We see the crowd trying to silence the man initially; scolding him to keep him quiet. We subsequently see a reversal of this when Jesus notices the man; the crowd becomes supportive, encouraging the man to be courageous, and to step up. How interesting!

I remember an incident that happened to me once. I had been working hard to bring up and resolve what I thought was an important issue. In the process of doing so, I spoke with many parties at work, and the message I got was to ‘suck it up’ and sort it out myself. 

After praying and considering my options for some time, I decided to escalate this matter to senior management, which I finally did. This move caused many to be upset with me (and made for me some powerful enemies). Ultimately, however, many others told me I had done the right thing in raising the matter.

I subsequently received a call from someone I had tried to seek help from in order to resolve the matter, and remember what she told me; “You should have asked me to help”. It was interesting on a few fronts; firstly that she did not remember my earlier calls for help; and secondly, that when I did, she had told me the situation was out of her hands. 

It occurred to me, upon reflection, that it would have required this person to step up and take risks if she chose to support me. Figuratively, if we were standing in a crowd together, and if I was shouting as the blind man was, it would require her to shout out as well, drawing attention to herself.

As Christians, we are expected to step up and speak for the oppressed. Yet, this desire to ‘follow the crowd’ and need to maintain the status quo stands directly in the way of this. I wonder how many of us choose to turn the other way because it would cause us discomfort (and negative consequences) if we were to stand up for what was right?

I leave us with this thought — how can we address this? Are there ways we can bring about positive change? Do we always need to be ‘in your face’ in our approach to advocating these changes?

For me, I recognise that I carry these fears with me as well. It may not always be apparent, but I see that turning away cannot be the default option.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Help us Father, to always be aware of situations which require us to step up for what is right and for people who are oppressed. Help us to be unafraid to be led by our Christian values.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for all that You give us. Thank you for showing us the right way to live, and for giving us the courage to do so.

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