What a powerful story! A day began in darkness ends in light. This is a total reversal of the normal and the expected. The day should go the other way. In the normal course of events maybe – Jesus is different.
Bartimeaus was blind and a beggar. Doubly afflicted, his life was lived in shadow – the shadow of blindness, poverty and of a moving and happening world. It was ironically the movement that caught his attention since there was a lot of movement and a lot of chatter that day. He wondered why and thankfully someone told him that Jesus was at hand. That was all he needed to hear. His shouts for help followed and though some tried to quieten him, his shouts were heard. There’s a lovely moment when Jesus asks the people to bring him over. Lovely because Jesus didn’t need them to do that but wanted rather to show them and, through them, all of us, that we have a part to play in the healing of others. That’s what we sometimes call prayer – where we seek to bring the needs of the sick to the Lord – we might light candles, say a decade, attend Mass but what we’re doing is bringing the sick to Jesus. He asked them to do that and he’s asking us as well.
Jesus welcomes Bartimeaus and puts a direct question to him – “What do you want me to do for you?” If Bartieaus ever had an answer ready it was that day and it was a telling answer. “Lord, let me see again”. The word “again” is important since it suggests he had seen before and somehow lost his sight. It’s a prayer for a re-opening of what has been closed and a re-discovery of what has been lost. It is a prayer for our time. “Master, let us see again”. It is, most importantly, a prayer that was heard.
The day begun in darkness would end in light. A prayer was offered and heard. A healing had taken place. People – the community – was asked to notice one that had been un-noticed and the community found its voice “Courage”, they told him, “get up, he is calling you”.
What does all this say to us here today? Where is the loss of sight and where is our voice? Darkness can become light and anxiety become a memory if individually and collectively we recognise the truth that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. When we call out his name, we must believe our voice will rise above all other noise and he will hear. He will hear and he will stop. He will notice.
Lord hear us ……………………. “What do you want me to do for you?” “Courage!”