“Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me,” Bartimaeus cries out in the Gospel this Sunday. “Master, I want to see” (Mark 10:46-52). Bartimaeus, out of faith in and love for God, begs for his sight, expressing his longing for God. And Jesus Christ, God the Son, in His infinite love and mercy, responds with healing and grace. This beautiful, powerful, life-transforming exchange gives us a glimpse into all Christian prayer that is personal and sincere. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit knows everything, yet He wants to hear from us, to have us express our desires freely in faith, in love. In other words, we pray, not to change God, but to change us, to expand our hearts to be ready to receive what God wants for us.
When he heard Jesus calling him, Bartimaeus “threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.” The cloak can be seen as a symbol of self-sufficiency, of our tendency to think that we alone can solve all of our problems. It symbolizes all those things that we mistakenly overly depend on for happiness: appearance, intelligence, athletic ability, material possessions, money, education, success, popularity. All of these things must take second place to following Christ, to obeying His Commandments and teachings, to trusting that friendship with God is the real source of the fulfillment for which we long. Bartimaeus heard the Lord’s call, cast off his cloak of self-sufficiency, and believed in, trusted in and followed Jesus.
The Lord calls us, too, every day – knowing that it’s not easy to entrust our cares to Him, to keep our eyes focused on Him, with all that can “blind” us at times – when we sin and we’re resentful, unforgiving, unmerciful and impatient, when we hear about leaders in the Church who are sinning. We should note that although Bartimaeus had suffered from a physical blindness, he could really see Jesus with his heart, and in an act of faith asked for His mercy. We all need an increase in faith (and not faith alone, for Jesus tells us throughout the Scriptures that the gift of faith must be lived in word and deed – James 2:14-26; Matthew 6:9-15 and 25:31-46; Luke 9:23-27). Jesus Christ brings His healing light into the dark places of our life, just as He brought light to the eyes of Bartimaeus, inviting us to believe in, see and follow Him. And Our Lord helps us to do so – as Jesus has given us our life, loving us so much that He created us and He suffered, died on the Cross, rose from the dead & ascended into Heaven to save us from our sins. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit has given us the gifts of faith, hope and love, and the grace (His divine help) to grow stronger in living these virtues and being instruments of them in word and deed, grace that we receive through His Church, Word, Sacraments, prayer and communion of saints. Thanks be to God who helps us to see!
With peace and prayers in Christ,