As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, "Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!" Jesus stood still and called them, saying, "What do you want me to do for you?" They said to him, "Lord, let our eyes be opened." Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him. Matthew 20:29-34
We are now in the season of overwhelming expectations. We are assaulted by ads and emails about special sales and articles that tell us how to make it a Great holiday. They push winning, doing things right, getting the best deals etc. What no one seems to remember is that the season of preparation, this Advent that starts tomorrow, concerns changing our hearts and minds to see two refugee parents and a baby born in the stable as our redemption story. Life among the vulnerable, transitional and marginal demands a compassion that comes from the heart of God.
Jesus is confronted by two blind men who will not cease their shouting. There is a great crowd and time is running short, and people are anxious not to disturb Jesus. But the heart of God moved him to stand still and listen, moved him to stop and linger. The men simply wanted their eyes opened. They wanted to see - not rule the world or have a million dollars but have what every one of us takes for granted - sight. These once blind men were healed and followed him on the road. And this road would become an enormous challenge, but they followed none the less because of his stopping, his compassion from the heart of God.
We are invited this season to stop and linger, waiting for the compassion of God to move our hearts. We are invited to make this season of Advent, a time of waiting and expecting tremendous changes to our interior space. May we not be distracted by the exteriors of the season and rather set out hearts and minds to waiting for the change of heart.
Today I ask God to help me wait for God's movement in my life. May we not quiet the voices of need but rather stop and listen. May we be moved by the heart of God to welcome the strangers in our midst.