Bartimaeus, a blind man, sat by the roadside begging; as Jesus was passing by he yelled out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”  This may sound familiar to anyone who knows the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”  The Didache Bible (Ignatius Press, p. 1335) refers to this passage from Mark’s Gospel as “a marvelous instruction on prayer.”

When we look at this blind beggar, we see several characteristics to be emulated in our own lives:

    • A strong faith
    • Persistence in prayer
    • Practice and participation in the faith
    • Drawing nearer to Jesus
    • Acknowledging Jesus as Messiah
    • Bold confidence in Christ
    • Undeterred by anyone’s attempts to hush his voice as he sought Jesus 

Bartimaeus knocked on the heart of Jesus. He asked for mercy, for the Lord’s pity, and his prayers were heard; the door was opened and his eyes were as well. He experienced the healing power of Christ in his life!

The Word Among Us referred to this passage in Mark’s Gospel as “the perfect profession of faith.” The man, unable to see with his eyes, had clear vision of heart. He opened himself up for healing, and we can do the same when we put our faith and trust in the goodness of God. When we ask Jesus for His loving mercy upon us, we may not see physical healing but we can be assured of spiritual healing. 

This encounter is an allegory of our own faith journey. We too can be cured of our spiritual blindness until our life with Him becomes more clear. It may take several attempts sometimes to be who God created us to be; there is a reason the spiritual life is often compared to a journey. But we too must first yell out to Jesus to have mercy on us, then be open to his movement of that mercy in our lives. Though we may want to do it figuratively if we are in Mass or Adoration,  if alone, we can feel free to speak our desires with bold confidence as Bartimaeus did.

What do you seek to have your eyes opened to? Jesus’ touch, more important than any temporary physical healing, brings healing and strength to a broken heart or a fragile faith.  Just as the people encouraged Bartimaeus, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you,” I encourage you to do the same.  What will you tell Jesus you need? Where do you seek his mercy, pity, and compassion in your life?  

May we all hear these comforting words from Jesus, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”

And may they inspire us to follow ever closer to Him with a renewed heart and clear vision!

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