|by Angela Lambert|
October 25th, 2015; 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel Mk 10:46-52 NAB
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
I love the reaction of the crowd in this passage. It seems that Bartimaeus was well known but simply as part of the common landscape of their everyday life. When Bartimaeus cries out to Jesus they react with (what looks like to me anyway) embarrassment. It reminds me of how little kids embarrass their parents by crying out in stores or talking too loudly during a silent part of Mass. Embarrassed, we quickly quiet them and try to impress on them the context of their surroundings. Similarly, the crowd tries to hush Bartimaeus. Jesus is extraordinary and important, Baritmaeus is extremely ordinary and unimportant. Doesn’t he know that he shouldn’t interrupt?
Yet, Jesus has come to transform the ordinary, weak, embarrassing aspects of our lives. We can’t impress Jesus by putting on a façade or hoping to impress Him. Rather, Bartimaeus serves as an example of the process of spiritual conversion. Bartimaeus knows he is blind and a beggar. The first step in the spiritual life is self-knowledge. It requires humble, prayerful, introspection wherein one acknowledges his or her weaknesses, sinful habits, and disordered attachments. It involves learning one’s limits as well as what one is motivated by – be it fear, ambition, anxiety, a need to please others, greed, lust, vanity, insecurity, or competitiveness. Whatever it may be, when we come to recognize it, we realize our incapacity to overcome it ourselves. We feel crippled and pitiful. We might beg for the help of others and it may get us through on a day by day basis. However, we yearn for wholeness, not just a daily life but the fullness of life.
Bartimaeus believed that Jesus could heal him. He cried out to Christ, despite how embarrassing it was to his family and community. Once we have self-knowledge, we must cry out to Christ as beggars. We have no real right to God’s help and yet He is our only hope. When we surrender control to God and humbly accept our dependence on His grace, we can then receive healing. When Jesus restored Bartimaeus’ sight He enabled him to live his full potential, be incorporated into society rather than live on its edges, and to joyfully follow Christ. Jesus can restore us as well so we can enjoy the freedom of living in communion with Christ and others unhindered by our former disability and enrichened by being our true selves. This truth resonates with every Christian who has experienced authentic conversion. The song Amazing Grace remains a treasured classic, capable of provoking tears on many occasions because of this very fact.
|Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.T’was Grace that taught…
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear…
the hour I first believed.Through many dangers, toils and snares…
we have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far…
and Grace will lead us home.
The Lord has promised good to me…
When we’ve been here ten thousand years…
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
- Acknowledge a weakness or difficulty of yours and lay it before Christ. Imagine you are Bartimaeus, crying out and begging, trusting that Jesus will heal you or help your situation.
- Consider someone in your life that you could be more compassionate toward. Reflect on how their sin or weakness that bothers you is in fact quite pitiable. Rather than judging, pray for that person and ask Christ to help them.
- Reflect on the song Amazing Grace. A beautiful performance of it by Andrea Boccelli can be found on youtube at this link:
Make a Resolution (Practical Application):
- Pray for Christ’s mercy and healing each day this week. If possible, go to Him in the sacrament of Confession or attend a daily Mass.
- Extend mercy toward someone this week. Show patience or offer encouragement to someone struggling.
~ Written by Angela Lambert © 2015
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