What do you want me to do for you?

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Imagine for a moment that you had the power to heal people. If you had that power maybe you would go immediately to the nearest hospital, right into the intensive care unit and find someone to heal.  You just touch them, and they are healed.  You wouldn't even have to say anything. The person receiving the healing wouldn't have to say anything. In fact, you could go right down the row of rooms, and heal everyone, one right after another.  It would seem the humane thing to do if you had the power.

But notice in tomorrow’s Gospel that this is not how Jesus operates.

There is a blind man who is begging by the side of the road. He calls out to Jesus.  If it were you or me with the power to heal, we would probably go right up to him, touch his eyes and heal his blindness.

But Jesus doesn’t do that. He goes to him and asks him a question, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Isn’t it obvious what the man needs?  He’s blind! He needs to see!  But Jesus doesn’t rush at him and force the healing on him. He treats him with incredible dignity. He asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?”  He has great respect for the man’s freedom. He lets the man tell him what he wants from him.

In this we see the great gentleness and tenderness of Jesus. Jesus, who is God All-powerful, who can do all things and knows all things, respectfully asks the blind man, “What can I do for you?”

And so Jesus treats us in the same way. God knows what you need and He can do all things, but He waits for us to come to Him. Yes, He does inspire us to come to Him; He is always moving first in our lives to draw us to Him.  He is always actively going after us, drawing us to Him.

And yet, He waits for us. He waits for us to ask Him for what we need. He waits for us to give Him permission to move in our lives, so respectful is He of our free will and dignity.  Is there anyone who treats us with such love and respect as Christ does?

We can see, then, the importance of bringing Christ our needs. Even though He knows everything we need, He stills waits for us to ask Him for what we need. So, when Christ asks you in a moment of prayer, “What do you want me to do for you?” tell Him what you need with a confident heart knowing that He hears you.

I want to bring to mind for you another story of Christ’s profound respect for our free will, humble respect for our freedom.

Many of you know the story of St. Maximilian Kolbe. You will remember that he was the Polish priest in Auschwitz who offered his life to the Nazis in place of a father of children who was condemned to die. But you may not know another piece of his story. When he was young, the Blessed Mother appeared to him and offered him two roses, one white and one red.  The white one represented purity, and the red one represented martyrdom. She invited him to choose one of these for his life.

You see how, even in giving his gracious gifts, God allowed St. Maximilian to choose. Incidentally, Saint Maximilian choose both roses for his life.  Is there anyone who treats us with such love and respect as Christ does?

And so, with blind Bartimaeus, we cry out to the Lord, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me,” and we tell the Lord what we need, and with Saint Maximilian Kolbe, we lovingly accept everything that our gracious Lord offers us.

Fr. Mark Gurtner

About Fr. Mark Gurtner

Fr. Mark Gurtner, J.C.L., is Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and pastor of Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Fr. Mark is also an Adjunct Assistant Professional Specialist in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.