October 29, 2021


Like Bartimaeus, be courageous, open your mind and heart to God

“They came to Jericho. And as he 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’ ” (Mk 10:46-47).

The story in the Gospel reading for the weekend of Oct. 23-24 presents us Bartimaeus, a blind man in Jericho, and the courage he had to call out to Jesus to heal him.

As Pope Francis tells us in his reflection on the reading before reciting the Angelus on Oct. 24 at the Vatican, “Bartimaeus had lost his sight, but not his voice!”

And his voice is all the stronger when Christ asks him what he wants him to do for him: “Master, I want to see,” Bartimaeus replies (Mk 10:51).

We see Jesus’ loving response to his request quickly. “ ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.’ Immediately, he received his sight and followed him on the way” (Mk 10:52).

Despite the pleas of many in the crowd to not bother Jesus, Bartimaeus ignores their words and is not afraid to approach Jesus because he believes he is the Messiah.

And as Pope Francis tells us, “God always listens to the cry of the poor and is not at all disturbed by Bartimaeus’ voice; rather, he realizes it is full of faith, a faith that is not afraid to insist, to knock on the door of God’s heart, despite not being understood and being reproached. And here lies the root of the miracle. Indeed, Jesus says to him: ‘Your faith has made you well’ ” (Mk 10:52).

Bartimaeus’ faith, we see, is centered around prayer. He calls Jesus the “Son of David,” the pope tells us, acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah who would come into the world. And he speaks to Jesus from his heart.

“He does not ask for a favor but presents himself: he asks for mercy on his person, on his life,” the Holy Father said. “It is not a small request, but it is so beautiful because it is a cry for mercy, that is, compassion, God’s mercy, his tenderness.”

The story of Bartimaeus might lead us to ask ourselves: Do we have the courage to call out and knock on the door of God’s heart? And to speak to him from our heart?

Our faith teaches we have an all-loving God, always listening to us, wanting what’s best for us, eager to speak to us in the silence of our hearts and through others. The questions we must constantly ask ourselves are: Do we speak to God on a consistent basis? Despite the chaos in world in which we live, do we take time to listen to him? Do we see him in others who cross our paths each day?

Bartimaeus did not use many words, Pope Francis reminds us, but says what is important “and entrusts himself to God’s love which can make his life flourish again by doing what is humanly impossible.

“This is why he does not ask the Lord for alms but makes everything be seen—his blindness and his suffering which was far more than not being able to see. His blindness was the tip of the iceberg; but there must have been wounds, humiliations, broken dreams, mistakes, remorse in his heart,” the pope says. “And what about us? When we ask for God’s grace, in our prayer do we also include our own history, our wounds, our humiliations, our broken dreams, our mistakes and our regrets?”

As people of faith, we believe Bartimaeus regaining his sight was a miracle. But sadly, many people today fail to believe miracles are possible.

Pope Francis says we too should have the courage and faith to ask God for everything because he can give us everything.

Let us remember God has plans for each of us. Although some may find it hard to fathom, we are all called to be saints.

As we approach the Solemnity of All Saints on Nov. 1, may we remember those who have gone before us—officially canonized or not—who lived heroically virtuous lives, offered their life for others, or were martyred for the faith, and who are worthy of imitation.

May we each have the courage of Bartimaeus to appeal to God’s compassion, mercy and tenderness.

And as St. John Paul II taught us, let us “be not afraid” to turn to God with all our heart.

—Mike Krokos

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