Now, before you go off and tell everyone just how crazy I am (I'm not, I've been tested), take a moment to hear me out. You see, for as long as I can remember, I have known Bartimeus, or at least since a wise Spiritual Director of mine told me to sit with him. "Wait with him on that curb," my Spiritual Director said, "and see what happens, who comes around." And sure enough, wouldn't you know it, after hours and hours of waiting, Jesus came around. Not only did he come around though, he came and then the unexpected happened or at least I believed it to be unexpected. Bartimeus started yelling at the top of his lungs, crying out into every direction, hoping that his plea wouldn't fall on deaf ears, and then it happened, the crowd became eerily quiet after it had tried to silence Barti, (that's what I call him) and then some people started telling him to get up, Jesus was calling, and lo and behold, Barti sprang up, threw his cloak aside and went to Jesus. I was mesmerized to see how Bartimeus went straight to Jesus, "but how?" I asked myself, "he's blind!" He did it though and everyone was amazed at what transpired, because just ask quickly as Bartimeus had sprang up, he had regained his sight. The entire crowd was awestruck at this event, but there's something more that was amazing. You see, as I trailed behind Bartimeus, I was able to hear Jesus as he spoke with great love with Barti. Jesus asked him what he wanted and Barti spoke clearly, "I want to see." And see he did, but what struck me the most is that Jesus didn't just give Bartimeus his vision back, he gave him something far more healing. Jesus spoke of Bartimeus being saved, and that is what struck me the most.
And so it is, in Jesus we are not only able to see with our eyes, but truly we are able to see with the heart that God has given us, the same heart onto which God smiled when he declared us humans to be "very good." I can't begin to imagine just how Bartimeus had the fortitude or courage to do what he did, or how he even found his way to Jesus, but I have no doubt that in all the time he had sat in a world of darkness, he had been able to attune his heart to the voice of his shepherd, of our shepherd, and just like the sheep that Jesus speaks of, Bartimeus was able to respond and follow as soon as he heard that voice, but there's more, not only did Barti have a faith that knew the voice of God, he also had a disposition to put that faith into action, I believe that is what gave him the ability to spring up and go to Jesus. Thinking about all this, it makes me wonder where I am, how is my faith made strong in the silence? Am I able to attune my own heart to that of Jesus, or do I stray and listen to other voices? And am I as willing to respond when God calls, or do I lolly gag on this or that little thing, do I trip over my own cloak? Either way, my good friend Barti has reminded me that for all that I know and love God, there is still far more to do, I pray that each of us, in our own way, are able to grow in knowing and loving God, that we may each respond when necessary and above all, that our faith may help us see even when the way is unclear. As always, know that you are loved. God bless you. Fr. Rick