MAY 27. Ord time B. Wk. 8. Thu. Mk.10. 46-52
As Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.’ And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’ Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him here.’ So they called the blind man. ‘Courage,’ they said ‘get up; he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. Then Jesus spoke, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Rabbuni,’ the blind man said to him ‘Master, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has saved you.’ And immediately his sight returned and he followed him along the road.
It is a simple truth that in the Gospels one of the most common ailments that Jesus had to deal with was blindness, and I think this is because it is also one of the most common ailments of those who strive to follow him.
So, the question then becomes, why is this? - Why is blindness such a common problem amongst God’s people?
I think the answer is because, in our day to day lives, we spend a great deal of our time listening, not to the Holy Spirit, the voice of Jesus within us, but rather to the Spirit of the World, which is around us!
And the reason for this is because we are sinners, which means we have an inbuilt “inclination” or “desire” to look after ourselves and to satisfy our desires. This is a simple truth few of us would argue with, as it is part of our human nature.
That being so we are faced with the question of how do we overcome this inclination to care for ourselves, in order to Imitate Christ more closely?
I think the answer is to be found in Prayer, or more accurately, in the Quality of our Prayer life!
In reality our prayer can be seen as “something I need to do,” and so we “do it” faithfully each day, giving it our time; - but this approach to prayer sees it as a duty we have to “do”; - while the approach we should have is prayer should be seen as “withdrawing from our duties”, in order for our hearts to abide with, and listen to, Jesus Christ; - our teacher and lover.
Rather than prayer being a duty we “do” or “fulfill” it needs to be a time when we give our hearts to Jesus in a spirit of humility and trust; - a time when we abandon ourselves to him in the same way as when we leave our car to be serviced! We give the keys to the mechanic, and we walk away, trusting he will examen our vehicle, and do what is necessary. What gets done depends more on the mechanic than on what we want; - on Jesus, rather than on us!
“The words of the Prophets may ring out (during my prayer) but they cannot give me your spirit. They speak in beautiful language, but should you keep silent, they fail to set my heart afire. They express the letter of your message, but it is for you to lay bare the meaning within. They bring mysteries to our attention; - you unfold the meaning of what they speak in signs. They tell us what your commandments are; - you help us to keep them!” (Imit. Bk 3. Ch. 2)
Blindness comes about because we do not allow Jesus access to our hearts, our life’s “engine!”
Gospel Acclamation Jn8:12
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.