Updated: Oct 25
A reflection on this Sunday's gospel
by Bro. Ron Calderon, CJM
There are people who are sent to a doctor or a psychiatrist to be healed but don’t improve from their current condition. Other times, there are sick people who get healed so fast because of the right conditions they have immediately before seeking help. I would like to call the second one, good timing. I believe Bartimaeus has a good timing in the gospel reading for today. Let us see why.
Bartimaeus is first seen in the gospel begging for alms. This indicates one quality that contributed to his good timing: dependence. The blind man of Jericho is like a child, always dependent on other people’s mercy in order for him to survive. Later on he is told to have a faith in God, so he is capable of a total dependence on God. This can also be implied on how he beg for healing from Jesus Christ.
Another quality that Bartimaeus have that contributes to his good timing is his awareness that opportunities may come rarely in life. That is why when he heard Jesus of Nazareth passing by the gate of Jericho, he started crying out loud unceasingly until the Lord notices him. His ability to seize his opportunity to meet Jesus could be due to a certain focus in anticipation to meet the Lord. Maybe he has already heard from some travelers that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem and would pass by Jericho. Without second thoughts he waited for the Lord like a wise virgin. Perhaps, the very reason why he was begging at the roadside is from his hope to meet the Lord as he passes in that area.
The third quality that Bartimaeus have is his ability to distinguish if other people’s words are from God. When he heard that many from the crowd wants him to be silent, he did not listen, he did not heed their words. He knows that their words are not from God. Then, when the crowd said, “Take courage, get up, Jesus is calling you.” This time he knows that this is from God and so he obeyed.
The fourth quality of the blind man is his awareness of Jesus’ identity. He knows that Jesus is the “son of David” like Solomon who is known to be a magician and healer. Though he might not be aware that Jesus is the Messiah at that time, at least he knows that Jesus is a kingly master and he is his servant.
The fifth quality of Bartimaeus is his good self-knowledge. He knows what is important and what he wants. He does not waiver that he wants to be healed by the master himself. He wants to end his blindness once and for all. He wants to see and live a more meaningful life.
The last quality of the blind man of Jericho is his strong faith. His determination and persistence to meet the lord and master and his strong desire to be healed are rooted from his strong faith that Jesus saw in his heart. This is confirmed when the master said, “Go your way, your faith has saved you.” If we look more closely, the faith of Bartimaeus helped him in his capacity to discern the truth and to choose what is important.
Given all these qualities, even with his blindness, Bartimaeus has started to see clearly. These qualities show that indeed, he is ready to be healed. If you have a spiritual brokenness and blindness, do you have these qualities to show that you are ready to be healed by our lord and master? If you do, I am sure that Jesus will not have any second thoughts of healing you right away.
At this time when groups of people are being blinded by propaganda and fake news in social media, we need to be as strong as Bartimaeus in our faith to combat the lies in front of us and choose what is true. Let us always choose the truth, and if we are blinded, always seek the help of God to clear our clouded vision, so that we don’t just see and live in the truth but also guide other people, as our Christian mission, to have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and let others live in truth as well.