At times, there is a big difference between reading scripture and hearing it. Case in point was in this Sunday’s Gospel reading from Mark 10:46-52:
As Jesus 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.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.
I had read this piece and thought of it as just another healing miracle. I know that every miracle story has a deeper meaning, and each one fits somehow into the overall presentation of the Gospel as a whole, but this one did not speak directly to me until I heard it read out loud during Mass.
About two-thirds of the way through the passage, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been like Bartimaeus. I had at one time in my life been blind. Not physically blind, but spiritually blind. I did not have any faith. I did not understand the spiritual ways of the world. I was lost. Somehow, through His help and the help of others, I was able to call out to Jesus and ask to be healed. And like Bartimaeus, I began to follow Jesus to Jerusalem and to the Cross.
But, although I may see, I still have blind spots. I do not see everything clearly. One of my blind spots is not always taking the time to see Jesus in others. In my haste or in my selfishness or in my pride, I do not see the part of others that is holy, that is worth loving. I do not see their whole humanity. Forgive me.
I pray, “Master, I want to see.”