Faith and Persistence

Mark 10: 46-52
Sir 42:15-25 / Psa 33

Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
(Mark 10:52)

Grant us the grace to see, O Lord
What once was hidden deep within,
The wisdom to discern Your Word,
And will to break away from sin.

They came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus, the Son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Mark 10: 46-52)

Reflection

The crowd of people who tried to silence Bartimaeus were more blind than this beggar. Though limited by his handicap to many things, he “saw” the opportunity for the restoration of his sight passing by, and mustered all his strength to cry out for help. The people following Jesus, however, were all blind to the need of this suffering man, because in their minds he counted for nothing. (Blind beggars are at the bottom rung of the social ladder.) It was only when the Lord stopped and took notice of Bartimaeus that they encouraged him to get up and made way for him to reach Jesus. In yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus also asked the same question of His apostles, James and John: “What do you want me to do for you?” They too were blind to the true mission of our Lord, and so their request to be given special places in “His glory” was denied.

We ourselves were once blind to the things of the spirit until we joined a community of renewed Christians and became followers of Jesus Christ. We began to see many things by the grace of God and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and by the words of Jesus Christ in the Gospel. We learned that when we ask God in prayer for discernment and wisdom, He will not refuse our request. “Lord, I want to see.” And in time we began to understand many of life’s mysteries which were once hidden because of our sins.

In one of our group’s bible sharing sessions, a former politician confided that he had decided to give up his law practice “for God’s sake,” and for the first time in his life found true peace and enlightenment. Another brother shared that ever since he surrendered his will to the Lord, he has never failed to receive what his family needed, always “in the nick of time.” We all agreed that it was God’s gift of faith that restored our vision of living in the right direction (following Jesus). But like Bartimaeus, it was also necessary for us to cry out to God with persistence. One who is blind, whether physically or spiritually, could not let the opportunity to be healed pass them by. God immediately gave us what we needed in order to follow Him. Like the conversion of St. Paul in Damascus, “things like scales fell from (our) eyes, and (we) regained (our) sight” (Acts 9:18). And in the words of the Lord’s foremost apostle, now we have seen that we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of His own, so that we may announce the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Pet 2:9).

We praise and thank You, Father God, for making us see that it is the things of this world that blind us and keep us from following Your will, and it is in complete faith and trust in Your will that our proper perspective has been restored. Amen.

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