November 14, 2016
by Tom Lenz
Creighton University's Pharmacy Faculty
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 497

Revelations 1:1-4; 2:1-5
Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6
Luke 18:35-43
Praying Ordinary Time

Why is it so difficult to ask for help? It seems that society conditions us to think that in order to be strong and smart that we must do it ourselves, without help. Individualism pervades. We teach our children from a young age that we must, “make it on your own” and to “show the world what you can do.” I see it every day on our college campus – young men and women eager to prove their intelligence. Of course, there is a necessary side to this in education at all levels. But, does our increasingly individualistic gaze prevent us from asking for help? Are we conditioned to think that it is a sign of weakness? From my experience with our burgeoning superstars of the next generation, I see it nearly every day. Students often do not ask for help on projects, papers, and studying for exams because they want to “show the world what they can do – on their own.” And, they are highly praised when they do. They are even hesitant to ask questions in a public setting for fear of showing their peers that there may be a chink in the armor. Professors often say of students who are failing, “If only they would have come to me for help.”

Does God feel this same way? In Luke’s Gospel reading today, he tells the story of the blind man calling out to Jesus for help. Within the story, Luke tells how the people walking ahead of Jesus wanted the blind man to be quiet, to stop calling for Jesus. We do not know why the people wanted him to be quiet – perhaps they didn’t want him to make a scene, perhaps they were in a hurry, or perhaps they did not think he was worthy of speaking to Jesus. But, Jesus did, of course, stop and talk with the blind man – and he asked for help – and he was healed.

As I reflect about this passage, it makes we wonder how God must feel when we ask for help. I am inclined to think that he does not view it as a sign of weakness. In fact, I do not think that God wants us to even try to make it on our own. I have this vision of God waiting for us to call out to him, like the blind man, and he rejoices when we do. Asking for help demonstrates a desire to grow and to be the fullest sense of the person that God has intended us to be. It makes me think that within our struggles of day-to-day life that we tend to try to solve on our own, is God saying, “If they would only come to me for help”?

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