“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.” – Mk. 10:46-52
The Gospel passage proclaimed this past Sunday is packed with significance, and is one that all of us can relate to. For me, this includes my vocation story. Bartimaeus is a blind beggar struggling to find his way. He was looked upon differently because of his blindness. In that time, illness could be seen as a punishment for sin or as a family curse. As he heard Jesus approaching, he was filled with a fervent desperation that Jesus would stop and see him. This would be his chance to have a new life.
People tried to keep him quiet. They may have felt that they were more deserving to be seen, and that he was a lost cause anyways. Bartimaeus knew he couldn’t stop, so again he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me,” and it was his day. Jesus called him.
Reflecting on this so far, how many times do we feel burdened or weighed down by our own sins, failures, or just the weight of not feeling we are enough? Jesus is calling each and every one of us back to him, just like he called Bartimaeus. He is asking each and every one of us to have the courage and to step out in faith. He wants us to come to him with all that we are carrying. Bartimeaus then threw his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Just like Bartimaeus, Jesus asks us to throw off our cloaks of sin, the false identities we have for ourselves, and anything else that is weighing us down. Jesus asks “what do you want me to do for you?” Here, I really encourage you to answer this question: what is it that you are seeking him to do for you? How can Jesus help you? Bartimaeus replies with, “Master, I want to see.”
Now, the reason why I love this passage so much is because when I received the call that changed my life, there was a song that was sung during a time of Eucharistic Adoration that has similar references. The song was O Come to the Altar. One of the verses in the song says, “Leave behind your regrets and mistakes, come today there’s no reason to wait, Jesus is calling. Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy, from the ashes a new life is born, Jesus is calling.” Just like Bartimeaus, I traded my old life of sin for a new life in Jesus.
Upon profession, it is a tradition in our community to design our prayer card and I was having difficulty with finding the right image to portray all that the Lord had done in my time of initial formation. I was at a youth event at a parish when I came across this painting of Bartimaeus reaching out his hand to Jesus. This then led me on the journey of reading this passage and doing Lectio Divina with it, only to see how it resembled my own life. How each and every one of us is blind like Bartimaeus whether it be from our sin or even by not knowing Jesus’ love for us.
Jesus, we ask you for the eyes of true faith and to not let our eyes be clouded by the distractions and troubles of this world that can blind us to you.
Jesus is calling. Will you answer?
Sr. Ashley Marie Refugio Santora, HMSS professed First Vows on August 15, 2021. She is currently studying to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Theology.