Thursday March 3, 2011
Scripture: Mk 10: 46-52: “What do you want me to do for you?”
In a poor village, there was no electricity. And in the night without moon and stars, there was a blind man with a lighted lamp in his hand to walk home. A passer stopped the blind man and asked him: “what do you do with the lighted lamp because you are blind? The blind man answered: “It is not for me, but for others. If I carry this lighted lamp with me, others can see it. Then they will not hit me.”
The blind man continued his journey carrying the lighted lamp with him. On the way, there was a storm. He waited under a tree and resumed his journey after the storm. Suddenly a stranger coming in the opposite way hit him and both of them fell down on the ground. The blind man shouted angrily, “Couldn’t you see the lighted lamp in my hand, man? Are you blind?” The stranger replied, “I am not blind but your lamp was not burning.” “I am sorry, dear”, said the blind man. “I am blind and did not know that the flame was put off by the storm.”
Dear brothers and sisters,
The blind man in the Gospel today, was marginalized out of the society because of his blindness, a truly serious physical infirmity. Consider for a moment that there were no social security or government programs for him to fall back upon. Like everybody, he was expected to earn a living. However, it was impossible for him. Therefore, society expected him to do what he did - find a corner at a busy intersection, sit on the ground and beg. He found himself at the bottom of society that he had to sit on the ground, a totally denigration of his human dignity.
Remember the Gospel yesterday Jesus asked James and John what they wanted from him. What did you find the answer? They wanted positions of power and honor at the side of Jesus when He enters into His kingdom. Today, the same question that Jesus turns to Bartimaeus and asks him what he wants and he gets a simple response: “My teacher let me see again” Here, Bartimaeus stands for the whole humankind, not physical blindness but spiritual blindness: cut off from the light; prisoners to sin; to selfishness, to ambition, lost in a dark land with no signposts and with no way out. Persons who are spiritually blind can’t understand suffering; they only see God insofar as He is useful to them.
For Bartimaeus, his faith totally changes his life and it opens him up to new possibilities. St. Mark wants us to understand that the same kind of faith can change our lives as well. Life can gain a new meaning, a new direction. Life lived for Jesus and not merely for ourselves and what we can get out of this life will open us to the fullest expression of our humanity and we will discover who we truly are. We will then find ourselves in the company of Bartimaeus, having left our personal prisons behind, embarking on a new life of discipleship - as we too follow Jesus, up the road.
Lord Jesus, may we never fail to recognize our need for your grace. Help us to take advantage of the opportunities you give us to seek your presence daily and to listen attentively to your word. Amen