The Faith of Blind Bartimaeus

10-24-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Bing Colasito

What do you want me to do for you? The question Jesus asks the blind man is the same He presents to James and John last Sunday. The blind beggar answers in a simple direct way: "I want to see." The touching account of the healing of Bartimaeus reminds us what Jesus asks us also, what do you want me to do for you? Let us learn from Bartimaeus. Have the courage to approach Jesus, do not be afraid to bring our illness, helplessness, and blindness to Him. But also have the faith of Bartimaeus and persevere in praying. Ask, and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find - knock, and the door will be opened to you. (Mt. 7:7)

The 2nd reading reminds us that Jesus the healer is the same Jesus the High Priest. He is a priest forever who makes the perfect sacrifice as a ransom for our sins. He is the Jesus we encounter in the sacrament of reconciliation, He who extends His mercy to sinners courageous enough to approach Him. In the sacrament, we are like the blind Bartimaeus, crying out for mercy and healing. Hearing the invitation of Jesus, we must also throw our cloaks of doubt – so we can jump up and approach Him. Trusting Jesus this way is like hearing His words when the priest gives the absolution in the sacrament of reconciliation: Go in peace! Your faith has healed you.

Interestingly, most Jews know that the Messiah to come will be the Son of David; but it takes a blind beggar Bartimaeus to see that He has already come. If we look at the 1st reading, we can say that the prophecy of Jeremiah is present in the words and works of Jesus. He comes to deliver His people, the blind and the lame. Bartimaeus knows in his heart that Jesus is the awaited Messiah, the great healer, and the teacher. Only a person with great faith calls Jesus Rabboni, like Mary Magdalene, the first to believe the risen Lord on Easter morning. (Jn. 20:16) The most important lesson we can learn from Bartimaeus. Upon receiving his eyesight, he starts to follow Jesus up on the road to Jerusalem. Bartimaeus leaves everything behind and abandons his former way of life to follow Jesus. I pray that we all have the same journey of faith. We approach Jesus with confidence to receive His mercy. The Lord has done great things for us; - we are filled with joy.

I pray that we can pray like Bartimaeus. Rabboni, I want to see. Let us pray that the Lord can strip us of all our blindness and shortsightedness. Let us pray that we may see the big picture and see with the eyes of faith and love. Somebody says: Unless we make an effort to see the world the way God sees it, we will never get beyond mere appearances. Lord, may we hear you tell us: Go your way; your faith has saved you.