30TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Bartimeus was blind and he was sitting on the side of the road! The road was a symbol of dynamism of life and Bartimeus sitting on the side of road meant that he was not part of the movement of life. His encounter with Jesus in Jericho would change his life forever.
When Bartimeus heard that Jesus was passing by, he knew it was the opportune moment that he had been waiting for and began to shout and cried out “Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.” There were two kinds of crowd in the story: the first one scolded him and told him to keep quiet, the second one encouraged him and brought him to Jesus. Bartimeus caught the attention of Jesus. Jesus a) stopped 2) asked the second crowd “call him here” 3) and said “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimeus’ cry could not be simply ignored by Jesus amidst the pushing crowd; when Jesus heard him, He stopped and gave him his full attention. When we cry to God in our utter humility and desperation, our voice pierces the heart of God and He stops and listens to our pleas. Jesus asked the assistance of the crowd to bring Bartimeus to Him. Our encounter with God, although personal, always involves the community which either hinders or assists us. Are we a wall that obstructs people to encounter God or a bridge that brings others to God? Jesus knew that Bartimeus was blind and He knew what he needed but He still asked him “What do you want me to do for you?” Why? Because Jesus did not want to impose what He wanted so he asked Bartimeus to express his freedom of the will. Bartimeus knew what he wanted all his life and this was now the moment he had been waiting for; it would be very remiss of him not to say what he wanted: Rabbuni, let me see again.” Jesus said “Go, your faith has saved you.” Once he had his sight back, he followed Jesus along the road.
In the book of Genesis, the very first thing that God created was light. Because of light, we are able to see the world and its beauty. Darkness symbolizes emptiness and everything that is evil. Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Our eyes are the windows of our souls. What a sad thing if the dynamism of life is taken away from us so that we are not able to engage with life. We might not be physically blind like Bartimeus but in our spiritual life we might experience blindness through our arrogance, self-centeredness, sensuality, addictions, etc.
Some time in our life, we may experience the darkest night of our souls. Like Bartimeus, we just have to admit in utter humility our need for God and we cry out: “Lord, I need you in my life. Take me out of darkness. I want to see.”
The most important thing is not just having our sight back, but to be able to walk again in the road and celebrate the dynamism of life. The only way we can do this is to follow Jesus who is “The Way” and will lead us to life eternal.