Commentary to the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The grandchildren suddenly realized their blind grandfather was missing. They finally found him planting trees in a nearby field. They were upset. The old gentleman calmly said, "But don't you see how future generations will admire these trees?" The blind grandfather could see. His family, each with 20/20 vision, were blind. Miserable people are not those who are blind but rather those who refuse to see. (John Kiley)
The blind and deaf Helen Keller said, "The most beautiful things in the world can't be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."
Clever Bartimaeus saw Christ clearly with the eyes of his soul. So must you and I. Or in a saint's words, "I believe that I may understand."
Bartimaeus was dependent on others for sight. But he could hear well. He heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, so he called out to him. He was healed. And then, Bartimaeus did something a blind person cannot do. He followed Jesus, not just figuratively, but literally. Bartimaeus walked behind Jesus along with the other disciples of the Lord.
The first reading from the Prophet Jeremiah tells us that a day will come when the lame will walk and the blind will see. And certainly, that day began with Jesus Christ. Certainly, this is one of the teaching in today’s Gospel. Bartimaeus sees. The great days that Jeremiah had prophesied had begun. But, perhaps this Gospel reading is deeper than a demonstration of the powers of the Messiah to give sight to the blind. Perhaps, it is speaking about seeing with the eyes of faith.
Bartimaeus followed Jesus. The blind cannot follow someone. Can you imagine the joy that Bartimaeus must have had to be able to follow someone on his own, without being led? But the reading has a deeper level. Those whose souls are blind to the Presence of God cannot follow him. Only those who are willing to take a step of faith, a leap of faith, and seek out the Lord can follow Him. At the conclusion of the long reflection on the healing of the Man Born Blind in the ninth chapter of John, Jesus says, “I came so that those who are blind may see.” So, can you imagine the joy of those whose lives seemed to have no direction, who lived in darkness, when they find a path to life, a light to guide them? Wait a minute. We are those people. We are the ones who had been in darkness and who now have light.
“I need direction in life,” the lady complained to me. “I need direction in life,” I’ve complained to others. Perhaps, you have felt the same way. Why do we do that? Why do we look for direction, when all that we need is right in front of us? We have been entrusted with a treasure, the very presence of the Lord. When I feel that I am lost, when we feel we are lost, then, I and we, need to get back to basics. We need to follow Jesus to find the path to life the psalmist cries for in Psalm 16.
We need to reflect on the profound joy the Lord has brought to all of our lives. He has given us sight. We can see where we need to go. We can follow Him. We can go to that place where all happiness dwells. Our joy is realizing that like Bartimaeus we are not blind any more. We can follow the One who gives Light to our lives.