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Open the Eyes of My Heart

October 25, 2015


A reflection for the 30th Sunday, Ordinary Time, B. The readings are Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalm 126; Hebrews 5:1-6 and Mark 10:46-52.

You don’t have to see something to know that it exists. We can’t see the CN Tower right now, but we know it exists. I’ve never seen a $1000 bill but I’m told they exist. I don’t have any reason to believe they don’t exist. Just because I can’t see or understand something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist or that it isn’t true. There are some things that we can’t prove, but they exist. Our ability to see sometimes has to do with how open our hearts are. You go to Mass to worship God and to meet Christ in the Eucharist, but you can’t see him. You’ve been told that He’s there, but we can’t see him.

In the case of this blind man, Bartimaeus, the blind man of Jericho – he found out that something was going on because he could hear the crowd. He could hear the people yelling. Something was going on. And there were people around him, so he asked, “what’s happening?” And someone told him, “It’s Jesus of Nazareth” How fortunate for Bartimaeus that there was someone near him who told him that it was Jesus. How lucky are we that there are people in our lives, people near us who tell us that Jesus is passing by.

Bartimaeus had heard about this man Jesus and all the amazing things that he was doing. Maybe Bartimaeus thought, “I can’t let this moment pass me by. I can’t just sit here and do nothing. I may never have this opportunity again.” Or maybe he just got caught up in the emotion of the moment; I don’t know. It was a cry of Faith. And he began yelling, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And the people around him began to shush him; to scold him. It’s not that he was yelling; everyone was yelling. It’s that he was a blind beggar. He was a nobody. He was worthless; he was trash. He was one of what Pope Francis calls, “the discarded,” “the throwaways.” And Bartimaeus could have been intimidated. He could have listened to them and been silent; scurried back into his corner. Imagine what would’ve happened had Bartimaeus listened to those voices that told him to be silent. Imagine what would NOT have happened! We also have many voices trying to suppress our cries of Faith. In many cases it’s our own voice! But Bartimaeus ignores them and shouts out even more loudly: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stops.

In the midst of all that noise and screaming, Jesus hears his cry. It’s because it was a cry of Faith. When was the last time you made a cry of Faith? Because every cry of Faith is received by the heart of Jesus. Because Jesus is sensitive to every cry of Faith. That’s how he can hear Bartimaeus yelling even though there were 1000 people yelling; how he can recognize the touch of the woman with the hemorrhage (Mark 5:25-34) even though there were 100 people touching him. Jesus hears our cry of Faith. And he calls Bartimaeus. He asks people to bring him over.

I love how the Gospel of Mark says that Bartimaeus sprung up. But he’s blind.  He needs help getting to Jesus. But some people listen to Jesus and they go and help him walk over to Jesus. How fortunate are we that there are people around us who help us walk over to Jesus when it’s difficult for us to go on our own. And for Bartimaeus, this is the best day of his life. He doesn’t need anything more. He’s been treated with dignity. He’s been called. He no longer feels worthless. He has been made to feel important. This man Jesus calls him and recognizes his human dignity. He doesn’t need anything else.

But Jesus has something else in mind. He asks him, “what do you want me to do for you?” The guy is blind. Jesus knows what he needs. But he doesn’t assume. I don’t know, maybe he needs a new cloak! Jesus treats him with respect and asks, “What do you need?” Jesus knows what we need, but still he wants to hear it from our lips. For some reason He wants to act through our faith. Bartimaeus says, “I want to see.” And immediately he regained his sight.

And it’s interesting, Jesus doesn’t say to him, “See.” He says to him, “Go.” And Bartimaeus went and followed Jesus on the way. If you keep reading the Gospel, the next stop is the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. I believe Bartimaeus followed Jesus, probably all the way to the Cross.

Today Jesus is passing by. He’s with you. You can’t see him. But He’s there. And He wants to heal you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a little kid or an old person; whether you’re poor or you have a good job; whether you’re an immigrant or whether you’re a Christian or even Catholic. It doesn’t matter if you believe in God. It doesn’t matter how bad a sinner you are. It doesn’t matter how far away you’ve gone or how low you’ve fallen. Jesus doesn’t come as a judge to punish. He comes with love and compassion and mercy. He wants to hold you and to heal you. What is it in your life that needs to be healed? That needs to be transformed? Tell him. Make that cry of Faith. Tell him. Let him open the eyes of your heart that you will see him.

“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart.
I want to see you. I want to see you.
Lord, I want to hear you.
I want to love you.
I want to praise you.
I want to see you.”

Jesus is there with you now. Don’t let him pass you by.

From → English, Reflections

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