1 Peter 2:2-5, 9-12
Sometimes, if I am being honest, I struggle when I have to put pen to paper and share my reflections with you each month. But today, I saw the Gospel’s message-at least the message I got-so plainly, that I couldn’t help think it was a bit ironic. How clearly I see the message about blindness!
Bartimaeus was a blind beggar. I can only imagine where this put him in the social strata of his time. He was, to say the least, invisible. What strikes me as most interesting is that while Bartimaeus was blind in that he was unable see with his eyes, I think he actually had better sight than anyone in the crowd following Jesus.
Bartimaeus called out for Jesus unceasingly, even as the onlookers rebuked him and tried to silence him. Unlike all those pious souls in the crowd who probably thought they were doing Jesus a favor by keeping this loud and bothersome vagabond quiet, Bartimaeus could truly see what Jesus was. As the crowd tries to keep him away from our Lord, this only made the blind man call out "all the more." He could see Christ’s power and his compassion: "Son of David, have pity on me."
Unfaltering in his faith, Bartimaeus pleads, "Master, I want to see." Jesus replies, "your faith has saved you." In that moment, Bartimaeus regains his sight. I think this is a beautiful lesson in the healing power within each of us-the healing power that comes from true faith. This man so believed in Christ’s ability to save him that he tirelessly sought after him. And why did he believe this? Certainly he had heard about Jesus, but he had no assurance, no proof. He may have been blind, but he saw Christ perfectly.
So, we have to ask ourselves, then, how is our own vision? Are we blinded by fear, prejudice, temptation or pride? I think we have to constantly ask ourselves the primary question of how we see Jesus. We have to do this in part because the relationship that we have with our Lord greatly informs how we see ourselves and the world around us. And we have to keep checking in on this. You wouldn’t let your eyeglass prescription go unchecked for years and years would you? As soon as you notice that little squint when you are reading, or driving, or watching television, you know it’s time for a visit to the eye doctor.
Well, what about when we spend an evening on the phone gossiping? What about when we ignore someone in need because it would be too big an inconvenience to stop and help? What about when we snap at our kids in anger and impatience? Isn’t that a spiritual sort of "squint"? Would we have the vision to defy social norms and call out to Jesus for mercy for all the world to hear? Would we have the faith to see Jesus in the crowd and go to him for help? If the answer is no, it might be time to get those eyes checked.
Marlo Serritella is on staff at the Holy Cross Province Development Office in Chicago.