A Message from Father William

“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 hope and 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 might mistakenly overly depend on for happiness: appearance, intelligence, athletic
ability, material possessions, money, education, success, popularity. All of these things
can certainly bring us a sense of joy and happiness for a time, but they must take second
place to the enduring joy of following Jesus Christ, to obeying His Commandments and
teachings, to trusting that our relationship with God is the 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, loved and followed Jesus.

As the Lord called Bartimaeus, He 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’re sinning, resentful, unforgiving, unmerciful and impatient, when
we follow certain leaders in the Church and in our country who are doing evil and not
following the Way of the Lord Jesus. 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 that the gift of faith must be lived in word and deed – James 2:14-26;
Matthew 6:9-15; 25:31-46; Luke 9:23-27). Our Lord and Savior, 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, to know, love and serve God
in this life so as to be eternally joyful with Him in Heaven. God helps us to do so – as
He has given us our life, loving us so much that He created us and He suffered, died on
the Cross, rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven to save us from our sins and give
us eternal life in Heaven. 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 these virtues
and be instruments of them in our words and deeds, grace that we receive through His
Church, Word, Sacraments, daily prayer and the communion of saints. Thanks be to
God who helps us to truly see!

With peace and prayers in Christ,
Fr. William