That I May See
Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time - B

Frank Enderle
Reproduced with Permission

In our gospel reading today Mark explains what happened when Bartimaeus, a blind man, asked Jesus to help him. I could talk for some time about how today we experience society's blindness on social and moral issues. It is fairly easy to find examples of the blindness of political leaders who ignore the cries of the most needy or the blindness of big business to the needs of the worker. Yet, I think it is more difficult for us to see our own blindness. Oftentimes because we are so preoccupied withour own problems it is difficult for us to see the problems that others have. This blindness, which almost always leads to solitude and a lack of faith in each other and, more importantly, in God, is like a cancer that our society suffers. The more we want to be sure of our own worth, the more we need the consolation and support of our family and friends and, of course, the help of God. Yet many times we feel that we are too busy for such things. We don't have time to ask for help or we think that doing so is admitting our own failures. Then little by little we find ourselves living solitary lives.

Bartimaeus, precisely because he was blind, had to have faith in others. He waited at the side of the road begging, hoping that those who passed by would give him what they could. But when he heard that Jesus was passing by, he got up and began to cry out. He placed all of his hope in Jesus. Even though he had never seen Jesus, he recognized His voice and there was something about that voice that told Bartimaeus that Jesus would listen to him. The blind man believed in Jesus' generosity. In other words, he had faith. When Bartimaeus approached the Lord, he probably thought: Will Jesus agree to help me? Sometimes we also have this same question in mind when we ask Our Lord for something. Our doubts and problems make us waver in our faith. We’ve been let down so many times in our lives that we have become used to people saying, “Sorry, I can’t help you.”

Yet Mark's gospel teaches us time after time that many times we cannot resolve our own problems without help. We must do as Bartimaeus did, get up and cry out to Jesus. And when we ask the Lord for guidance and help, we must be prepared to accept whatever that answer will be, even if it is not what we expected to hear. We should not lose our faith in God like those who fall into the temptation of going to fortune tellers and healers who base their supposed powers on supposedly magic words and actions. The mechanical repetition of words and actions without faith are not pleasing to the Lord. Those who believe in the reading of palms, tarot cards or the stars to foretell the future are spiritually blind. They are unable to see that God created time and only God can foretell the future. Unfortunately when those who believe in these things suffer unforeseen problems, sicknesses or economic losses, they say that God has abandoned them. In reality, they are the ones who have abandoned God. They begin to think that faith in Jesus is not enough yet their faith is already so weak that it could be said that it does not exist. They have ceased to believe in Jesus.

Faith in Christ should be something stronger than this. It should open our eyes to the responsibilities that we have as Christians to God and to our fellow human beings. In this large city in which we live many of our brothers and sisters are also crying out "Master, I want to see." Who will help them to encounter the road to the Lord? Where will they find faith and understanding if not in a faith community such as ours? Maybe we haven't thought about this vital and dynamic aspect of our faith. Maybe we have always thought that all that God asked of us was a personal commitment to follow Jesus. Maybe we thought that all we have to worry about is saving our own soul. No, my brothers and sisters in faith, it is not enough. The beauty of our faith is that it asks us to be generous. It is true that God has called us to enjoy the fruit of the richness of our faith, yet it is also true that we are called to share this gift of faith that we have freely received. God asks us to invite family members, friends and acquaintances to share our faith with us, here in this community of faith. Our Christian faith gives us the ability to see through depression and despair, to see a God waiting to save us. Isn’t that something that is worth sharing?