Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, May 27
May We Always Trust in God’s Limitless and Unfathomable Divine Mercy, Protecting Us from the Spiritual Blindness in Our World.
In today’s Gospel, we read the story about a blind man who had heard about this Jesus of Nazareth performing great wonders. In desperation, he cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.”
And when Jesus asked him what it was that he desired, Bartimaeus, replied, “Master, I want to see.” And Jesus responded to him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” And the Gospel tells us that “Immediately he received his sight…”
But then the Scriptures give us something extra. They give us an insight into the heart of this poor man himself – and, if we are not careful, it is so easy to miss – for we read that he “…followed him on the way.” Bartimaeus could have gone any other way, but instead he chose Jesus’ way!
We hear nothing more of this blind beggar, who apparently became one of Jesus’ followers. But the story of God’s Love, the story of faith, the story of depending upon our Lord, the story of casting off what binds us to this world, and following and embracing the only Truth which truly matters – it is a story told countless times throughout the history of Christianity. It is a story of our relationship, our dependence upon Jesus Christ and His undeniable and indescribable Love which He holds for each and every one of us!
Bartimaeus expressed openly that for which we earnestly pray silently, “…I want to see.” Can we say that the life of Bartimaeus, this blind beggar, is any different than ours? Oh, we may not have been physically blind, as he was – but for most people, at one point or another in our lives, many of us, including myself, have suffered from a spiritual blindness of one form or another, which prevented us from seeing the Divine Light of God’s Loving Presence in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
This brings to mind a true story I had shared once before, a story of a young man who had approached me many years ago. And in the course of our conversation, he had mentioned that he had fallen far from the grace of God, as he was traveling down a path which was leading him into a great darkness, a great chasm which was swallowing his spirit and his will.
He stated that he was walking through life blinded by his own sinfulness and the many addictions from which he suffered: alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual immorality. He told me he ended up in a state of considerable depression over the direction his life had taken.
His desire to even admit to his problems and share them with me became his first step in seeking healing to the many issues which were blinding his heart and soul. And just as Bartimaeus cried out in today’s Gospel, “Master, I want to see”, so too was this young man reaching out for his own healing – emotional, physical and spiritual.
How many of us in today’s society wander through life not able to see? How many of us are like Bartimaeus, desiring to be healed in some fashion from some physical, mental, emotional or spiritual ailment which seems to have attached itself to us?
I remember reading a report about research conducted by Columbia University some time ago which stated that at least one in six Americans have suffered depression at some point in their lives.
And for the average person, as we struggle daily to make ends meet, as we struggle to provide for the needs of our families, as we continue to live in a stress-filled and success-oriented culture, it is sometimes difficult to see what is truly important in the lives we live – especially if we do not maintain our focus on the eternal prize which is offered and available to each of us.
It is so easy for anyone to become blinded by the lures and attractions of this world, where we end up suffering spiritual blindness due to a self-love of pride and vanity, which ends up begetting arrogance, disobedience, and a lust for the idolatries that the prince of this world offers.
Unless we recognize the evil that exists in so many different facets of today’s society, we will end up like Bartimaeus – blind, maybe not physically like he was, but most definitely spiritually blind. And it is a blindness which can incapacitate us spiritually, to the point of preventing us from seeking reconciliation with God, for we begin to fail or refuse to recognize the blindness within ourselves!
Saint Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, a treatise on spirituality and theology, once wrote that “…blindness is a kind of preamble to sin”, for it does not wish to recognize its actions as sinful.
And yet, in the midst of all this, God’s grace will not be outdone, as is the case of this young man I had mentioned earlier. Recognizing that he was already at the bottom of a deep chasm in his own life and wandering about blindly, in his own way, he cried out, “Master, I want to see.”
And just as Jesus responded to Bartimaeus and said, “Call him.” In my own way, I said, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” Today, this young man has been dry, sober and clean for almost nineteen years.
What has kept him this way is being able to recognize what is truly important in his life – God’s Love for him and his love for God. The last time I saw him, he spoke of how important Jesus had become in his life, and that he has returned this love in action, by returning to the practice of his faith.
There are millions of people today who have followed the lead of our late Holy Father, Pope St. John Paul II. He found great importance in the message and the prayer of Divine Mercy. “Jesus, I trust in You” becomes a prayer, a mantra of sorts, which helps us to open our hearts to the healing power of Love from our Risen Lord.
For each one of us in the cultural climate in which we live, it is important that we each turn to trust in God’s limitless and unfathomable Divine Mercy; it is important that we begin to pray for protection from the spiritual blindness which is so prevalent in our world today, not only for ourselves but also for all our loved ones, and also for those who are suffering and have lost their way in this life.
With a truly opened and contrite heart, God’s Loving Mercy is always available to us for the asking, for today’s Scriptures remind us that all creation gives witness to the glory which is God’s, a glory which penetrates and permeates all living things – “How beautiful are all his works!”
Truly, “…the earth IS full of the loving kindness of the Lord.” We need only to open our hearts to fully realize and appreciate this most wondrous aspect of God’s Nature! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “…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.’…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.” (Mark 10:46b-47, 51-52)
- “How beautiful are all his works! even to the spark and the fleeting vision!” (Sirach 42:23)
- “…the earth is full of the loving kindness of the Lord.” (Psalm 33:5b)
- “I will lead the blind on a way they do not know; by paths they do not know I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight. These are my promises: I made them and I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)
- “The LORD sets prisoners free; the LORD gives sight to the blind. The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.” (Psalm 146:7c-8)
- “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4:18)
- “Then Jesus said, ‘I came into this world…so that those who do not see might see…’” (John 9:39ab)
- “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46)
Prayer for the Day
“Late have I loved You, O Beauty ever ancient,Saint Augustine of Hippo (Confessions)
ever new, late have I loved You!
You were within me, but I was outside,
and it was there that I searched for You.
“In my unloveliness I plunged into the
lovely things which You created.
You were with me, but I was not with You.
Created things kept me from You;
yet if they had not been in You
they would have not been at all.
“You called, You shouted, and You broke through my deafness.
You flashed, You shone, and You dispelled my blindness.
You breathed Your fragrance on me;
I drew in breath and now I pant for You.
I have tasted You, now I hunger and thirst for more.
You touched me, and I burned for Your peace.”