Mark 10:46-52 Jesus and his disciples came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you." So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
Reflection Have you ever felt restless or apprehensive, that things were just not right? A bit off center, uneasy, unclear making it hard to stand up and move on? I certainly have and I experience it as a kind of spiritual blindness. Although I have eyes to see the world around me, somehow I do not understand what is going on. I am spiritualy blind. In my blindness the best I can do is sit at the side of the road not sure which way to go. In the absence of self understanding where can I possibly go? When I do try to move I falter and stumble because, though I have eyes, I do not see. What is this unsettling mystery that is so difficult for me and the disciples in Mark’s gospel to see?
I believe this may have something to do with why the writer of Mark’s gospel tells the stories of the blind man in Bethsaida and blind Bartimaeus and places them like bookends before the first and following the third time Jesus predicts his suffering, death and resurrection. The thing is, who can understand the mystery of Jesus, fully human and fully divine? Who can understand the mystery of a messiah whose glory is born in his consent to drink the cup of suffering and death? Who can understand the message that the last shall be first and the least shall be greatest? How can I follow Jesus if I am blind and do not understand?
The best I can muster is joining blind Bartimaeus shouting, “Lord have mercy on me! I don’t understand and I don’t know which way to go. I am sitting on the curb watching life pass by because if I stand in my own power I will stumble and fall. Teacher, have mercy on me. Please call me and show me which way to go.”
Maybe it is all in that one word, teacher. When I call out asking for the teacher’s mercy I am admitting that I do not know. I am making myself least in the relationship. From the position of open, empty receptivity I am ready and waiting for the teacher to pass by and call me. I am not so full of my self or my plans that I cannot see or hear the teacher call. That’s where I am today. Sitting on the curb with blind Bartimaeus. Though I am still uneasy I sit in faith with hope that the teacher will call, restore my sight and show me the way.