Sunday, 25 October 2009

“What do you want me to do for you?”
30th Sunday in Ordinary time
Reading: Gospel of Mark 10:46-52

“Master, let me see again”. This is the request the blind beggar, Bartimaeus. And Jesus said to him, Go; your faith have saved you and the blind man was cured immediately. It tells us of the marvelous works of God. The grace of God is at work. But it also tells us of the marvelous faith that saved Batrimaeus. The healing takes place because of both grace and faith. God’s grace is working through faith and this is the message of today’s reading.

Let us look at some of the detail of the healing of Bartimaeus. He has been waiting for the moment to encounter Jesus. And the moment when he heard of Jesus passing by, he seized that moment of time. He 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 the Messiah. It took a lot of “guts” and persistence for Bartimaeus to get the attention of Jesus over the din of 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 Jesus’ discourse. 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 crowed tried to silence the blind man he overpowered them with his 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 rebuffed him because he was disturbing his talk and his audience. Jesus showed that acting was more important than talking. Jesus commends Batrimaeus 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? Do I recognize my own blindness and come to Jesus with persistent faith and trust?

The point is not what Jesus did for Bartimaeus, but what he can do for us because there are many kind of blindness. Physical blindness is dangerous. There is another kind of blindness even more dangerous than physical blindness, and this is spiritual blindness/moral blindness, a person without conscience. Physical blindness endangers the body, but moral blindness endangers the soul. Physical sight comes through the eyes, moral sight comes through our conscience; spiritual sight comes through our faith.

As we hear the story of blind Bartimaeus, let us thank god for the gift of sight and resolve to take care to respect and not to endanger the gift of physical sight, the gift of moral sight called conscience, the gift of spiritual sight called faith.

And finally, Jesus passed by and stop awhile to meet the need of the blind. What about us, in time of 'rush hour', when we are too busy with our own business, do we spend a little moment for those who are in need? Do we approach that person and say, "what can I do for you?" Perhaps Batrimaeus is not far from us. Bartimaeus could be he is one of the member of family. The time when we neglect or ignore a person, who are in need, are we not just like leaving them in darkness?