© Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church 2010

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 21, 2018

As with any small community of people, the business of one person is often the business of everyone.  Following this example, Jesus’ reputation has preceded Him as He leaves Jericho, to the degree that Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, has heard of Jesus ability to heal. Despite how his blindness keeps him from going places on his own, he has heard of Jesus and finds joy and encouragement when he discovers that Jesus is passing by his location.  Because of this, he takes the opportunity to cry out to Jesus to take pity on him.  People try to silence him, but he will not be silent.  This promise of healing and hope in the message of Jesus is too good to keep still, so he continues to cry out so that he might be heard.
In reflecting upon this scene, it is important to note that generally speaking, the mind set of the people of that time was that if you were suffering some sort of physical infirmity, God must be punishing you for some sin, either one you committed, or one someone close to you had committed, such as your parents.  These unfortunates were often kept away from other people as a means of separating sinners from non-sinners, but in throwing off the conventional way of thinking and, symbolically throwing off a life of sin, the blind man throws off his cloak, and comes to Jesus for healing, forgiveness and sight.
We might think that Jesus would intuitively respond to the needs of Bartimaeus, and that the blind man would have to say nothing about his desires or needs, but as with any relationship, it is important to say what we want out loud, if we want our desires met.  Good communication brings good results, but in our life of prayer and our relationship with God, good communication, as in prayer, doesn’t just make for a clearer message, it brings grace, clarity of vision and pours holiness into our lives.  
What Bartimaeus says to Jesus is essentially a prayer of petition, but it is also a great statement of faith, and he is not shy about making his desires known.  People want him to be quiet, and he will not. Though he is blind, he sees in Jesus the answer to his prayers and he does not want this moment of grace to pass by, unfulfilled, wasted or filled with regret.  He has every confidence that what he desires from Jesus can be done, and in faith, simply tells Jesus, he wants to see.
One of the lessons we can learn from this example, is to not be quiet in our prayer to God.  It doesn’t necessarily mean standing up in a crowd or on a street corner, but it does mean that we need to be persistent and stand up for our faith even when those around us are telling us to be quiet.  God knows what we need before we ask, but in order to grow in our relationship with God we need to approach Him in prayer because in doing so, we come to a greater awareness of God’s presence in our life and a deeper experience and understanding of God’s love and grace. Bartimaeus found healing by praying and by not being quiet, knowing that healing would not happen if he remained silent.
We live in world that constantly challenges us in the witness of our faith in Jesus Christ. Bartimaeus had people telling him to be quiet, but, though blind, he had the vision to see that silence was not an option if he wanted healing and a relationship with Jesus.  Silence would leave him in the dark, literally and figuratively, and even though people were telling him to be quiet, he spoke out, witnessed to his faith in Jesus and left an enduring legacy which continues to speak to every generation of believers about the necessity to speak out, have faith and pray constantly.  
Bartimeus called out to the Lord and in faith and was healed.  If we want to experience healing and growth in faith, then we need to throw off the cloak of our blindness and in faith, cry out, “Lord, I want to see!”