30th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year B, October 28, 2012
In your mind’s eye, picture this scene which could be happening in homes anywhere in the world at this very moment. A father is carefully holding his baby. His rough and calloused hands gently caress the child as he nestles it in the crook of his arm. The loving father gazes with wonder at his child and ponders the gift of life that he is holding.
Imagine the contrasting images this scene give us – the father’s strength and tenderness compared to the baby’s frailty, weakness and utter dependence. Although the child doesn’t realize it, it is safe and protected in its father’s arms.
We are not unlike that newborn child, often feeling weak and helpless, but even worse, being fearful of our weakness. We are so like the blind Bartimaeus whose story is told in today’s Gospel.
In a way each of US is a blind Bartimaeus with our hand outstretched for help. Let’s be honest with ourselves, somewhere deep inside each of us is a hidden blind spot, crying out to be healed. Each of us is different, but each is in need.
For some of us it’s a feeling of loneliness, of being unloved, of being without hope. Some of us know the pain of rejection, or the blind rage we have repressed for years. Some of us have turned off our feelings altogether, and ache at the emptiness of our lives. Our inner darkness, our broken-ness, our pain makes each of us ONE with Bartimaeus.
Our cry is one with him as well. Today in our Gospel reading, Bartimaeus’ words become ours
As well: JESUS HAVE PITY ON ME.
Bartimaeus’ cry is a profession of faith. To beg for Christ’s mercy is to trust that he will heal the hidden blind places. “JESUS HAVE PITY ON ME.” We too turn to Jesus in faith and hope, with our hands outstretched in need.
We can all learn from Bartimaeus. He saw first with his heart. His determination, his refusal to be silenced by those trying to preserve decorum, his waiting and coming to Jesus make him one who saw with the eyes of faith.
That faith was born of the patience with which he endured the suffering of blindness. It was his faith in God that prompted Bartimaeus to cry out to Jesus and beg for healing. Jesus acknowledged and welcomed him as one who sought God with trust and hope.
Just like Bartimaeus, a newborn infant is weak and helpless too, but the parent will not abandon his child. Rather the father takes his child into his arms to express his love. He sometimes acts foolishly – making funny faces and cooing noises to draw forth the baby’s response, to let the child know it is loved. It is certainly not left alone or abandoned.
God acts in much the same way – foolishly some might say, in order to express his love, and forgiveness. When we are weak and helpless, we can be sure that reaching out in faith, we will find God ready to embrace us as the loving parent he is. We need not fear, because God’s love for us is not measured by our perfection, but by God’s goodness, mercy and love. God is a loving doting parent who wants to take us home and keep us safe forever.
And just as human parents reassure their frightened children, God does the same for us. God tells us, “Trust in me and everything will be alright.” That’s a promise we can believe.