The Blind Man
In our Gospel today we have a blind beggar, Bartimaeus, and he hears that Jesus is walking by. This is his chance, perhaps his only chance, to speak with this miracle worker. So he calls out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” But instead of taking the beggar by the hand and leading him to Jesus, the crowd yells at him and tells him to keep quiet. They shove him away. Only one person comes to his aid: Jesus himself.
When Jesus heard the people shouting at the beggar, he stopped. What does he do? What would you do? Go over? No, Jesus tells those who were keeping the beggar away to call him over to Him, and only then did the people change, only then did they help the unfortunate man.
Who was truly blind? The beggar or the followers of Jesus? Blindness is difficult to cure, but it is also difficult to diagnose. One man brushes his young daughter away when she wants to show him her school work, “Can’t you see I am trying to watch the game? Go bother your mother.” Another father is so overwhelmed by his love for his daughter that he writes a song in her honor. It is called, “Isn’t she lovely.” He writes she is truly the angels best, we have been heaven blessed. I can’t believe what God has done, isn’t she lovely? His name is Stevie Wonder, the blind singer. Which man truly sees his daughter? Which man is blind?
A man ignores his wife. She wants to know if he still thinks she is attractive. She wants to talk to him and wants him to listen to her. His response is, have you washed my golf shirt yet? Another husband is so overwhelmed by his love for his wife that he writes her a love song. You are so beautiful to me. You are everything I hoped for, you are everything I need. You are so beautiful to me. That song was written by another blind artist, Ray Charles. Which man truly sees his wife? Which man is blind?
A woman sits in church during mass: the word of God is spoken; the Bread of Life is broken. She is thinking, I wonder what I should fix for lunch. Just look at that woman’s coat, I bet it is not real fur. Another woman sat in church. She was blind from birth. Her name is Fanny Crosby. She later wrote these words about the mass: “Perfect submission, perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst on my sight.” Which of these women truly experienced worship?
In those three examples, who were the truly blind? And what kind of blindness is hardest to heal? Some just choose to be blind. Why? Perhaps, because you can get used to the darkness, just as you can get used to the light. It has been said that the moment of death is not extinguishing the light, but rather it is putting out the lamp. Why? Because dawn has come.
In our Gospel the dawn comes to blind Bartimaeus, ending his long night of darkness. Bartimaeus did not sit quietly and wait for things to happen. He boldly called out for Jesus. In our personal daily quest for the light, be inspired by Bartimaeus. Persistently call to an ever-passing Jesus.
Many of us have blind spots: blind to prejudice; blind to what goes on in the company we work for; blind to the needs of others, especially those closest to us. Remember the request of the blind man: Lord, let me see.
That is a prayer that we might all want to whisper now and again. Let me see the things I need to see, the people I have hurt, the wrongs I have done. Let me look at those who feel rejected by society and by our Church. Let me see Your goodness to me. Let me experience Your love for me. At all times, in all places, in all situations, Lord, let me see.