10-24-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The Gospel this weekend tells the story of the encounter between Jesus and Bartimaeus the blind beggar. We are told by Mark that Jesus was leaving Jericho and a large crowd was following Him and His disciples. By the roadside, on the path Jesus was to walk, was a blind beggar who obviously had heard about Jesus, His message and miracles. He must have decided that this was his opportunity to meet the Messiah and he was not going to let it pass by. But reaching Jesus was a herculean task for a blind beggar. First, he was blind and could not detect with precision who among the crowd was Jesus, or how he was going to navigate his way through this crowd to Jesus, even if somehow he was able to identify Christ. These huddles could deter any blindman from even making an attempt, but not Bartimaeus. He was a man of resilient faith so seizing the moment became his natural decision. St. Mark tells us that Bartimaeus began to cry out, addressing Jesus with His Mesianic title, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.’’ The busybody crowd tried to stop him, for them this beggar was wasting his time and constituting a public nuisance. Bartimaeus persisted and St. Mark tells us Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” The faith of a poor blind beggar stopped the movement of the “Son of David” and the huge crowd. Faith truly moves mountains.

At that particular moment, something interesting happened. The blind beggar who could not gain access to Jesus became the reason why God the Son stopped, and the very crowd that tried to rebuke him and was a barrier between him and Christ became the conduit through which Divine invitation reached Bartimaeus. Great things happen when faith reaches out towards God.

We may not be restricted by physical loss of sight like Bartimaeus, but an honest introspection will reveal how spiritually blind we often are. We are blind to the suffering of those less fortunate than we are and to the true will of God. We are also sometimes blind to growth opportunities in human development, relationships, knowledge acquisition and, more importantly, spiritual growth.

Fortunately, Jesus habitually and consistently passes our way. May we be granted resilient and persistent faith that will seize the moment, cry out to Jesus and have Him open our spiritual eyes so we can see how much God loves us and how best we can love Him through kindness. May the obstacles of doubt and despair that seek to prevent us from encountering Jesus be overcome by faith and hope in God. May we also express gratitude for God’s love by showing compassion, especially to the neglected in our community.

Please be kind and may God bless you.

Fr. Manasseh