‘Master, I want to see’

To have sight, that was all Bartimeaus was asking, yet he knew of Whom he was asking such a gift. He believed and trusted that Jesus, Son of David, could in fact help him see again. Oh that we might ask Jesus to grant us sight! 

Often in our day-to-day lives we are blind to what is happening around and right in front of us, missing so much. Seeing is a gift so many of us take for granted, and like those in the Gospel reading, we would rather pretend that blindness didn’t exist.  

Sunday’s Gospel from Mark has several messages and asks us: What areas of our lives have we gone blind to? When have we ignored the calling from Christ? When have we put all else aside and trusted completely in the Lord? And finally, do we choose to follow Him? 

Like Bartimaeus, we often go through life hoping that someone will notice and reach out to us. But yet, we wait and still no one does, finally in our desperation, we begin to call out. In our darkness we dare to hope and believe that someone will come along and help us find our way. It is at those moments in our lives that we begin to turn in prayer to God, asking for that which we desire and need. 

Looking to the first reading from the prophet Jeremiah, we see how the Lord answered prayer, how He led everyone out of exile. He insured that all were taken care of, and Jeremiah makes mention of the blind and lame and all those who were marginalized, their weeping turned to laughter and joy. They were shown the way out of their imprisonment and exile, and in faith were taken to safety. 

We are called each and every day to act as followers of Christ, shedding light into the dark corners of people’s lives, helping them to see with eyes of faith and trust. For many of us, it is when we put our complete trust in the Lord that we begin to clearly see solutions to those areas in our lives that we felt hopeless about. The doubts that plague us seem to evaporate like the morning fog, and we see with a clarity we never knew was possible. It reminds me of when I learned I needed glasses. When I wore them for the first time, I was amazed at what I was seeing and how much I had been missing. Everything was no longer blurry and fuzzy, but so sharp, clear and vivid. 

In our ignorance at times, we do not realize what we are missing or cannot see and become so accustomed to the blurriness in our lives that we begin to accept it as normal. Our focus shifts from the blessings to the trivial and we become so wrapped up in the small things, forgetting that we are not alone. 

Every day we are challenged to live out our values, to be Christ to those we encounter. We are each called in different ways, and it is not only for those involved in ministry, ordained or professed, but for each and every one of us. The second reading delves more deeply into the theme of being called from among the many to fulfill specific roles in our lives. In Hebrews we are introduced to the discernment process for the vocation of priesthood, and how individuals are called and chosen by God. It is only after hearing the call that the young men respond to the invitation. This is also true of all life’s vocations, from the religious life to married life and every other in between. We are all called to minister and evangelize to God’s people, we are all asked to help the blind see, and we are called to lead others out of their personal imprisonment. But it is only after our own blindness has been healed, that we can lead the way for others. 

Anyone who has ever had to deal with struggles in their lives, great or small, knows all too well, that you cannot help another until you have dealt with your own struggle. In order to heal others, you must first heal yourself. This is what Henri Nouwen referred to as the “wounded healer,” in his writings, and it was for this very reason that Bartimeaus chose to follow Jesus, even after Jesus told him he could go his own way. He understood that by following, he could bear witness to the workings of Christ in his life, giving much-needed hope and comfort to others. He not only received the gift of sight, but was open to the calling of Christ. A call that came with the help of others, Jesus instructed those with Him to “call him,” and they did. 

We, too, are asked to help others hear and heed the call, and to “take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you!” 

Anchor columnist Rose Mary Saraiva lives in Fall River and is a parishioner of St. Michael’s Parish, and she is the Events Coordinator and Bereavement Ministry for the diocesan Office of Faith Formation. She is married with three children and two grandchildren. 


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