The Gospel according to Mark (10:46-52)
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, my friend and my savior, I come to you today to thank you for the gift of faith. Sometimes I am blinded by fear and yet you help me see that there is truly nothing to fear as long as I’m with you. You direct my heart and my mind towards you, and you fill me with the peace of your Spirit. Help me to grow in confidence in living my faith each day.
Encountering Christ: There is a story of a hiker who gets lost in the dark of night and falls off a cliff. Reaching out he manages to grab onto a limb. Hanging there he realizes he won’t be able to hold on forever. He starts to pray for a miracle and hears God’s voice telling him to let go and he would not be harmed. The man, paralyzed with fear, would not let go of the branch. This exchange went on all night. But he refused to let go. When the sun came up, he looked down and realized he was only a few feet off the ground.
There are many things in our lives that cause us to be blind to the grace of God. Of the many let’s focus on fear. Fear of what? You fill in the blank. It could be death, life, sickness, a family feud, unpaid bills, and the list could go on forever. Fear is magnified when we lose our focus on Jesus who is the source of our healing and peace.
In today’s Gospel we hear of Bartimaeus who realized he was in the presence of Jesus “The Healer”. Wanting to take advantage of this incredible opportunity he called out to Jesus. Although deterred by some he persisted in reaching out to the one who could give him sight. His persistence paid off because not only was he able to meet Jesus, but he was healed. He regained his sight. But let us keep in mind that Holy Scripture often uses one thing to cast light on another. Did he regain his physical faculty to see or did he regain his faith and in so doing transform his life away from to following the Messiah.
What is it that prevents us from following, trusting the promises of God? Do we sometimes hang on a limb and reach out to God but do not trust him enough to follow his Son, Jesus? As I said earlier, there are many things that can blind us to God’s grace, but let’s focus on fear. Fear can rob us of a multitude of things including our faith and trust in God. And one cannot simply decide not to experience fear. Fist of all it takes prayer. This is our “calling out” to God. However, sometimes the voice we hear discouraging us is our own. Like Bartimaeus cast aside your cloak of fear and bring all of your wants and needs to Christ. And when he says let go, he doesn’t mean to give up, he means trust him.
There is a Song by an artist named Zach Williams called, Fear is a Liar. You can find it on YouTube or other music apps or sites. In this song you will hear that the father of lies uses our fears to fuel our insecurities which can cause us to doubt ourselves and the grace of God.
It is not wrong to be afraid from time to time, but we should never allow fear to blind us from the love, compassion, and forgiveness of God. When Jesus hears our call, he beckons us to come to him so that he can heal us and restore our faith. All we have to do is take that fist step and Love will come running to us and transform us. Then no one or nothing, not even fear, can lead us away for the loving arms of our Father.
Closing Prayer: Lord when I am in doubt of your love and allow fear to weaken my trust in you may you restore my faith so I may see the goodness of your grace in my life. And in return may we help others who struggle regain their sight by being the evidence of your love in their lives.
Action for the Day: Help others, maybe even yourself recognize the voices that discourage and be the physical presence of Jesus who listens to the cry of the poor. Our faith can be restored through one simple kind act that speaks volumes.