Meditation: Have you ever encountered a special moment
of grace, a once in a life-time opportunity you knew you could not pass
up? Such a moment came for a blind and destitute man who heard that
Jesus was passing by. The Gospel of Mark identifies this man as
Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). This blind man was determined to get near
the one person who could meet his need. He knew who Jesus was and had
heard of his fame for healing, but until now had no means of making
contact with the Son of David, a clear reference and title for
Faith and persistence is rewarded
It took raw courage and bold persistence for Bartimaeus to get the attention of Jesus over the din of a noisy throng who crowded around Jesus as he made his way out of town. Why was the crowd annoyed with the blind man's persistent shouts? He was disturbing their peace and interrupting their conversation with Jesus. It was common for a rabbi to teach as he walked with others. Jesus was on his way to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem and a band of pilgrims followed him. When the crowd tried to silence the blind man he overpowered them with his loud emotional outburst and thus caught the attention of Jesus.
This incident reveals something important about how God interacts
with us. The blind man was determined to get Jesus' attention and he
was persistent in the face of opposition. Jesus could have ignored or
scolded him because he was interrupting his talk and disturbing his
audience. Jesus showed that acting was more important than talking.
This man was in desperate need and Jesus was ready not only to
empathize with his suffering but to relieve it as well.
The blind man recognized Jesus with eyes of faith
A great speaker can command attention and respect, but a man or woman with a helping hand and a big heart is loved more. Jesus commends Bartimaeus for recognizing who he is with the eyes of faith and grants him physical sight as well. Do you recognize your need for God's healing grace and do you seek Jesus out, like Bartimaeus, with persistent faith and trust in his goodness and mercy?
Bartimaeus was not only grateful for the gift of faith and the gift of physical sight, but for the opportunity to now follow Jesus as one of his disciples. Luke tells us us that he immediately followed Jesus and gave glory to God. The crowd also gave praise to God when they saw this double miracle of spiritual and physical vision. Cyril of Alexandria, a 5th century church father, comments on this double vision:
"Lord Jesus, open the eyes of my heart and mind that I may see and understand the truth and goodness of your word. May I never fail to recognize your presence with me and to call upon your saving grace in my time of need and healing."
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/