Bartimaeus, the Blind Beggar, is sitting in his usual spot alongside the roadway when he hears that Jesus is walking by. Bartimaeus cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” at which time some of the followers of Christ rebuke him, telling him to keep quiet so as not to bother Jesus. This doesn’t stop him: Bartimaeus again, loudly cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” Jesus has Bartimaeus brought to him and asks what he wants. Bartimaeus responds, “Lord, please let me see.” In his mercy and compassion, Jesus gives him his sight, saying, “Your faith has saved you.” Bartimaeus received his sight and immediately began to follow Jesus, “giving glory to God.” (NAB, cf. LK 18:35-43) We can learn a few life principles from this interaction proclaimed in today’s Gospel.
(1) Bartimaeus knew what was keeping him from being united with the worshiping community. He was willing to recognize his needs and bring them to Jesus. We too, should reflect on our lives and admit our needs, “failures,” and shortcomings, and then bring them to Jesus.
(2) Bartimaeus didn’t let anyone or anything stand in his way. Oftentimes, we encounter obstacles to encountering Jesus. These obstacles come in many forms (e.g., certain personal relationships, insufficient desire or motivation to change, or lack of developed conscience to make good decisions). We must not be discouraged nor allow these to keep us from pursuing our Savior; rather, we must persist in calling out to him and trusting completely in his infinite love, mercy, and forgiveness.
(3) Bartimaeus didn’t base his faith on seeing. His faith was solidly rooted in hearing the words of Jesus and believing in the Gospel. Oftentimes, we are unable to see the workings of God in our lives, but by listening to God through reading the Holy Bible and hearing his Word proclaimed in his Church, by receiving the grace he offers in the Sacraments, and by believing his promises, teachings, and truths even in the midst of doubt, we establish and fortify our faith. We have all heard the saying, “Seeing is believing.” As Christians, perhaps we should rephrase it to, “Believing is seeing.” It is when we exercise our faith and believe, that we see the Hand of God at work. Our faith gives us sight.
Father, help me to acknowledge my needs and give me the courage I to overcome any obstacles that prevent me from bringing them to you. Strengthen my faith and belief so that I may see your hand at work in my life and follow you without reservation, for your glory. Amen.