FYI: This past week, I’ve spent much time taking care of a bad cold. Using the computer was far from my mind and energies. I’m feeling much better now (although it was 35 degrees outside this morning) and I want very much to share with you the following before I forget it. I doubt I will, though. JK
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
Last Sunday, the Gospel story of Bartimaeus was proclaimed in all our churches. A blind man receives his sight! Another miracle story! Been there, heard that. For me, it was different this year and I’d like to share why.
A few days before the weekend, a priest mentioned at lunch a book written by Oliver Sacks entitled The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales. Catchy title, don’t you think? But it refers to a man who was blind all his life and, through some medical procedure, received his sight.
For him, everything, now, was new — even things we normally take for granted. For instance, he had to be taught what was red, or yellow, etc. He had to learn that the “thing” before his eyes was a bicycle or roller skates or a sidewalk, etc. Everything that he had heard people talking about over the years, he had to learn or be taught. ALL WAS NEW. Think about that. This man even mistook his wife’s hair for a hat — never having seen either his wife or a hat in his life. ALL WAS NEW. How much more RADICAL a change could a person experience?
Back to the Gospel. Was this it just relating a miracle — another miracle — of Jesus? Was it a “same old, same old” proclamation? I don’t think so because of what happens afterwards. Before checking the Gospel out, ask yourself what you would do if you suddenly received your sight the way Bartimaeus did? (Don’t forget to invite me to all those parties!)
But, what did Bartimaeus do? BARTIMAEUS FOLLOWS JESUS TO JERUSALEM! He can now see deeper than even the disciples could see. (Check the verses before the Bartimaeus account).
I realized that to really follow Jesus, I was being called to see things differently.
I have to look around and see my own little world as well as the world in which I live with this new vision. I am being called to see everything and everyone as Jesus sees them. I have to become blind to flags, nationalities, religious practices, languages, political affiliations, that is, whatever can separate peoples. I am being called by my faith in Jesus to see all men & women, as my brothers & sisters, created in God’s image & likeness, and see them responding to God’s love in their lives the best way that they can.
And when my brothers & sisters are in pain, I am being called to see myself in solidarity with them, trying to share and understand their struggles and injustices and respond, if I can.
But SIN enters this world. This new vision allows me, also, to see sin in its many manifestations — not personal but social sin. And my lack of response to social sin situations accuses me. It is a burden to feel solidarity with those who do not have enough to eat or who are oppressed by governments. It makes my blood boil when I see corrupt governments and what that does to my brothers and sisters. To know that the State punishes by taking a life!
It is difficult to face so many situations of social sin. But then, I look at Bartimaeus. He followed Jesus to Jerusalem, the place of his death. Though not in the Gospel, I like to think that he was at the foot of the cross seeing something that very few, at that moment, saw. Somehow, in the midst of unexplainable pain, he saw God’s Presence
In short, I feel I have to make the request of Bartimaeus my daily prayer request:“Master, that I may see”.