30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalm 126; Hebrews 5:1-6; Mark 10:46-52
You may have never heard of Matt Murdock.
But you may have heard of Daredevil,
one of the superheroes in the Marvel Universe of characters.
Murdoch is a big city lawyer by day
and a crime-fighter at night.
He’s also blind.
The child of a boxer growing up in New York,
Matt was often picked on by other kids.
One day he saw an old man about to be run over by a truck.
He ran out into the street
and managed to push the man out of the way.
However, in the process he was struck and was blinded
when a radioactive chemical spilled from the truck
and fell into his eyes.
That same chemical, however, enhanced his other senses
—hearing, reaction time, etc.—
and he used those to not only learn brail
and become an excellent student
but to also fight crime and protect the innocent and vulnerable.
Like Matt Murdoch,
Bartimaeus may have been blind
but he was also blessed with superpowers of his own,
especially faith and courage.
When he sensed he presence of Jesus, he cried out for him.
When others tried to shut him up, he refused to be silent.
When he was called by Jesus,
he “threw aside his cloak, sprang up” and approached the Lord.
When he was asked what he wanted,
he was clear and straightforward:
“Master, I want to see.”
When he received the gift of his sight,
he immediately followed Jesus.
There is some irony in this story.
Bartimaeus, a blind man,
was able to recognize Jesus as the Messiah
when so many others were not.
Jesus’ own disciples often failed to see
that he was the Son of God.
Many scribes, Pharisees and other religious leaders
were blinded by their own jealousy, legalism, religious elitism and pride. They not only refused to recognize
the fulfillment of ancient prophecies and God’s promises in Jesus, they actively opposed him
and eventually conspired with the civil authorities
to have him executed.
But the story of Bartimaeus is more than ironic.
It’s also a beautiful metaphor for evangelization and conversion:
Awareness of our own spiritual blindness
and need for healing and wholeness.
Courage and persistence in prayer
and our desire to encounter Jesus,
our compassionate high priest
who immersed himself in our humanity
and offered his life for us.
Readiness to respond when he calls.
Faith that Jesus
is who he says he is
and has revealed himself to be.
Commitment to follow him,
empowered by the grace that he has given us,
a grace that is often revealed
in our own weaknesses, imperfections and failures.
Bartimaeus was a beggar.
But through his encounter with Jesus,
he became a walking—and seeing—miracle.
Lord, deliver us from the blindness
that cannot or will not recognize you.
We want to see. +