The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Have you ever encountered a special moment of grace, a once in a life-time opportunity you knew you could not pass up? Such a moment came for a blind and destitute man who heard that Jesus was passing by. The Gospel of Mark identifies this man as Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). This blind man was determined to get near the one person who could meet his need. He knew who Jesus was and had heard of his fame for healing, but until now had no means of making contact with the Son of David, a clear reference and title for the Messiah.
Faith and persistence is rewarded
It took raw courage and bold persistence for Bartimaeus to get the attention of Jesus over the din of a noisy throng who crowded around Jesus as he made his way out of town. Why was the crowd annoyed with the blind man’s persistent shouts? He was disturbing their peace and interrupting their conversation with Jesus. It was common for a rabbi to teach as he walked with others. Jesus was on his way to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem and a band of pilgrims followed him. When the crowd tried to silence the blind man he overpowered them with his loud emotional outburst and thus caught the attention of Jesus.
This incident reveals something important about how God interacts with us. The blind man was determined to get Jesus’ attention and he was persistent in the face of opposition. Jesus could have ignored or scolded him because he was interrupting his talk and disturbing his audience. Jesus showed that acting was more important than talking. This man was in desparate need and Jesus was ready not only to empathize with his suffering but to relieve it as well.
The blind man recognized Jesus with eyes of faith
A great speaker can command attention and respect, but a man or woman with a helping hand and a big heart is loved more. Jesus commends Bartimaeus for recognizing who he is with the eyes of faith and grants him physical sight as well. Do you recognize your need for God’s healing grace and do you seek Jesus out, like Bartimaeus, with persistent faith and trust in his goodness and mercy?
Bartimaeus was not only grateful for the gift of faith and the gift of physical sight, but for the opportunity to now follow Jesus as one of his disciples. Luke tells us us that he immediately followed Jesus and gave glory to God. The crowd also gave praise to God when they saw this double miracle of spiritual and physical vision. Cyril of Alexandria, a 5th century church father, comments on this double vision:
Do you give glory to God for giving you the “eyes of faith” to recognize him as your Lord and Healer?
“Lord Jesus, open the eyes of my heart and mind that I may see and understand the truth and goodness of your word. May I never fail to recognize your presence with me and to call upon your saving grace in my time of need and healing.”
AMONG OUR GREATEST NEEDS
“A blind man sat at the side of the road begging. Hearing a crowd go by the man asked, ‘What is that?’ The answer came that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.” —Luke 18:35-37
Imagine if you were color-blind and nearsighted with impaired peripheral vision. Could you see? Yes. Would you need healing of your vision? Absolutely. Likewise, we can see spiritually but “we see indistinctly, as in a mirror” (1 Cor 13:12). We should not let the fact that we have some vision keep us from crying out to Jesus for vision good enough to live His abundant life.
If we don’t see God better in our spouse, what chance do we have to persevere in our wedding vows? If we don’t see more deeply into God’s plan, will we ever stop abortion? Until we see with the eyes of our hearts (Eph 1:18) our eucharistic Lord under the appearances of bread and wine, we will not center our lives to be in communion and go to Communion. This is severe self-deprivation.
Some of us have spent thousands of dollars so that we can see better physically. We have glasses, sunglasses, reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals, contacts, eye drops, and laser surgery to improve our sight physically. It is much more important to see better spiritually. Consequently, cry out to Jesus “all the more, ‘Son of David, have pity on me!’ ” (Lk 18:39) Pray to Jesus: “Lord, I want to see” (see Lk 18:41).
Prayer: Father, may I follow Your orders exactly so that I will see rightly. Promise: “Though the snares of the wicked are twined about me Your law I have not forgotten.” —Ps 119:61 Praise: St. Margaret chose marriage over entering the convent and converted a kingdom.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements