October 25, 2009
All is Blind
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 10:46-52 “What do you want me to do for you?”
Blindness was very common during the time of Jesus. Medicine has yet to discover laser treatment and eye operation to prevent blindness. Blind people are literally at the mercy of others. They beg for money or food to live Thank God we are not blind.
But today we are facing a different kind of blindness. It is the blindness of “not seeing” the meaning of what’s happening to us or the meaning of life. When one failed to understand and accept what’s happening in his life, he could end up miserable, hopeless, and lost.
Think about these: Some of us have everything in life, but unhappy and grumpy. Some will sleep tonight with an empty stomach but thankful to God for the peace of mind. Typhoon Ondoy destroyed the house of Mang Tinoy in Marikina but grateful that his family is intact after the flood. I guess some of us saw the meaning of life, while others did not.
All of us are blind. Nobody possesses a “crystal-clear” understanding of what happened to us, what’s happening and what’s ahead of us. We need the eyes of faith to see and understand things in our life. We don’t have a keen eye to see the finger of God in the midst of our pains and trials. In our present world where everything is possible and conveniently available, it is ironic that some of us are more frustrated, hopeless and lost. In our era of technological advancement, we have lost our sight to see God in all things. Suddenly we realized that Google cannot answer everything, especially the meaning of life and God’s will for us.
Our gospel today challenges us to follow the footsteps of Bartimaues. We need Jesus to heal our spiritual blindness. It is unlikely of Mark to give details in his gospel. But here, he specifically named Bartimaeus as the blind man. Mark wanted us to emulate Bartimaeus’ remarkable virtues of courage, humility, and self-detachment.
When Batimaeus heard that Jesus was passing by, he did not hesitate to shout at the top of his voice, “Son of David, have pity on me.” The crowd rebuked him but it did not stop him! And when Jesus finally called him, he threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and went to Jesus immediately. That was a display of courage and humility.
The “throwing of his cloak” was surprising. Cloak was very important for blind people for their survival. It was both for protection against weather and for begging purposes. It was on the cloak laid on the street that people would normally tip few coins. When Bartimaeus threw his cloak, he was abandoning the source of his security and leaving everything to Jesus. He realized that Jesus was the real source of security. And holding on to his securities and comforts blinded him from seeing God and His will. For all of us, our cloak may mean our personal attachments: people, things, possession, talents, honor, pride, etc. We need to set aside our cloaks to see essentials things we have taken for granted.
Jesus is passing by every day. Take the challenge of Bartimaeus. Set aside your cloak. Leave your comfort zones. Wear the virtues of courage, humility and self-detachment. Shout out loud and beg, “Jesus, I want to see.” And healing will take place.
Bartimaeus saw Christ clearly with the eyes of his faith. So must you and I.
“Miserable people are not those who are blind but rather those who refuse to see.”
- John Kiley
- Wilfredo m. Samson,SJ
Ateneo de Davao University / October 25, 2009