What Are We Willing To Do?
What is Bartimaeus willing to do? The blind beggar Bartimaeus hears that Jesus of Nazareth is walking by him and cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” The crowd is honored that Jesus was visiting their town of Jericho and didn’t want the cries of a poor, blind beggar to spoil Jesus’ impression of them. Therefore, they tell him to be quiet and stop embarrassing them. Bartimaeus is not discouraged and calls out even louder, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus responds, “Call him.” Bartimaeus, being the most courageous person there, threw aside his cloak, sprang up and came to Jesus. Many Scripture Scholars think that the throwing aside of his cloak is symbolic of his desire to be completely transparent to the Lord. Bartimaeus wanted Jesus to see everything about him. He did not want to hide anything from Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you? Jesus asks. “Master, I want to see.” Jesus responds, “Go, your faith has saved you.” Immediately, Bartimaeus receives his sight and follows Jesus on the way to Jerusalem.
How are we like Bartimaeus? We may have physical infirmities that we want Jesus to heal. However, we may feel like we have spiritual blindness, rather than physical ailments, that keeps us from growing in our relationship with God, family members and others. Anyone who struggles with addiction or family problems knows what it means to call out to Jesus for help. Sometimes our pride can get in the way of an encounter with Jesus. Like Bartimaeus, we need to be persistent in prayer, and not give up hope or listen to the culture around us which expects us to be quiet, help ourselves or even tries to convince us that vice is virtue. When we call out to Jesus for spiritual healing, are we willing to throw aside our cloaks and be completely transparent before Him? The ego does not like to be completely transparent to Jesus or to anyone else. If we desire to receive the Lord’s gift of spiritual healing, we must allow Jesus to be the Savior and Divine Physician of every aspect of our lives, especially in the areas we are not proud of. Jesus gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as a way for people to throw aside the cloak, and allow Jesus’ reign in every corner of our souls. Finally, after Bartimaeus received his sight, he chose not to go back to his former way of life.
Once Jesus answers his prayers, Bartimaeus follows Jesus on the way. He embraces a new life of following Jesus. Similarly, when Jesus offers us spiritual or physical healing, grace and spiritual sight, we are called to move away from our former way of doing things and joyfully follow Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life. What are the areas of spiritual blindness that I need to present to the Lord for healing? Can we finally hear the encouraging words of the Gospel in our hearts, “Take courage, get up, Jesus is calling you”? Can we be completely transparent to the Lord, allowing his grace into every aspect of our lives, especially the areas we are not proud of? Whatever difficulties or sufferings we are experiencing, look at Jesus on the Cross and ponder what He was willing to suffer for us. That is how much He loves us. How much do we love Him? How much do we trust Him? As we reflect on the crosses we carry, and the witness of Bartimaeus, the most important question becomes, if we are sitting on the side of the road right now and Jesus is passing by us, what are we willing to do to get his attention?
May God love and bless you!
Sr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, IHM