The blind man stood in the road and cried,
Cryin’, O Lord, don’t turn your back on me… .
— Traditional Spiritual
In today’s Gospel story Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, sits by the road leading out of Jericho. There he hears the commotion of a large crowd approaching and is told that Jesus is coming. He cries out, “Jesus … have mercy on me!” Some in the crowd sternly try to quiet him, but he continues shouting, “Jesus … have mercy!” Jesus stops still and says, “Call him here.” When Bartimaeus springs forward, Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” “My teacher, let me see again,” he pleads, and Jesus responds, “Go, your faith has made you well.” In that moment Bartimaeus’s sight is restored, and he joins the crowd following Jesus.
Sighted or not, we live in darkness. Selfishness and self-will obscure our vision. Fears blind us. Our tiny pixel in time and space is going out. We too cry “Jesus, have mercy!” Will He stop for us? Is He calling us? Faith, we are told, brings Bartimaeus in his desolation a glimmer of possibility and the courage to defy the stern voices that would relegate him to despair. Can we catch that glimmer? Can we find that strength? Will we spring forward into the light?