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October 25, 2012 at 05:39 PM PST
Jesus' Desire for Us
by Rev. Rodel G. Balagtas
What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked Bartimaeus, the blind man in this Sunday's Gospel. Wasn't this the same question he raised to James and John, the sons of Zebedee, in last Sunday's Gospel when the two brothers asked him for a favor? This seemed to be a recurring behavior of Jesus: he tr
eated those who came and called out to him with tenderness and compassion. He wanted to respond immediately to their needs because he cared for them. After all, being the "broker" of grace, he had ready access to the Father, the "patron" of grace.

But Jesus did not only want to respond to their physical needs; most of all, he wanted to fulfill their spiritual needs, especially their "blindness" of not understanding fully His identity and the cost of following Him. He wanted them to have a clear vision of what it would take to be great in the Kingdom of God.

A few days ago, while I was at St. John's Seminary taking the Good Leaders, Good Shepherds class, I had opportunity to sit down with seminarians in theological formation. I heard them share their learning of the Scriptures and witnessed their eagerness to serve as priests. As I observed them, I appreciated their willingness to give up worldly desires and lifestyles to follow the Way of the Lord.

I wish that there are more people who not only recognize Jesus but also understand his will for them, that is to serve, to forgive, to love heroically and selflessly. For self-transcendence and self-fulfillment can only come by giving up one's life in service to God, his people and the people we love deeply. Indeed, the Way to Greatness in the Kingdom of God is humility and martyrdom.

Christianity is not all about what Jesus can do for us as a miracle- worker. Most of all, it's about what beautiful and positive things we can do for this world and its citizens. Christianity is not just about asking and praying; it's about doing and giving. Many times some people get it wrong: they come to church with a mere attitude of receiving grace and not with profound awareness of sharing grace.

This was not the case for Lem, the owner of a cafe I met last week who helped me to prepare lunch for dozens of priests that attended a deanery meeting in my parish. He shared with me his joy of serving those who have committed themselves to the priesthood. He recognizes the abundant blessings he receives from God and he is ready and willing to share them with others.

May all people not only recognize Jesus as the Son of God, but also follow the path he took to save humanity and the world: the Way of the Cross. It's the distinct way of love, forgiveness and service that can heal a broken and violent world. It's the path to peace!

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