Put a Lid on it:
What is it that you want from Jesus today? What is the ache deep in your heart that needs healing this day? Does anyone remember the description of a treasure box I used in the last couple of homilies I have given? You know the treasure box of faith we keep Jesus in! Today the church wants us to think about the lid we keep on that box and a crystal ball hidden in the box to help us find faith.
Spiritual Eyes – a Gift – to see beyond the current moment:
The symbol of the crystal ball is the Catechism. One who looks into it with spiritual eyes will begin to see with the vision of faith. Catechism Theme — The Characteristics of Faith (CCC 153-158) Bartimaeus could see with his spirit that Jesus could cure his eyes. The ability to see beyond the present is wisdom. Wisdom is a gift of seeing beyond the possible with faith, a grace from God. The Spirit of God empowers us with spiritual intuition and insight. But we cannot arrive at faith all by ourselves.
Will we choose to accept a Gift?
God never forces faith upon us. Faith is a truly human action, for it requires free will – human choice. God offers us his gift. We are free to choose it or reject it. When we choose faith, we choose cooperation. We become partners with the divine in our salvation and the salvation of the world.
The Sound of the Spirit:
How did Bartimaeus know Jesus was there? He was sitting on the ground begging. The sounds of Jesus with a sizeable crowd walking and talking must have surrounded him. Bartimaeus was able to detect Jesus of Nazareth was passing by from this keen sense of hearing! He knew about Jesus and began to shout out loudly, Jesus don’t pass me by, here I am!
The people accompanying Jesus rebuked him – be silent you beggar! But Bartimaeus shouted all the louder. Jesus son of David, have pity on me.
Jesus heard him and said. “Tell him to come.” Note Jesus did not approach or address Bartimaeus directly, but through an intermediary. Are you looking into your crystal ball?
Do we hear, will we get up, will we go?
Bartimaeus must freely choose to get out of his box and go to Jesus. Doesn’t it seem rather demeaning to force this blind beggar crying out to get up off the ground and come to him?
Take off that stinky Pride:
When Jesus called him, Bartimaeus threw aside his cloak, a garment that was concealing him. This cloak is a symbol of human pride he had to take off. Like the lid we put on our treasure box. We too must approach Jesus spiritually naked. Take off whatever mask we are wearing!
Jesus asks: “What do you want me to do for you?” “I want to see again.” Jesus does not touch Bartimaeus – he simply tells him to go on his way for his faith has made him well.
Seeing “who Jesus is” is the goal of faith, and it leads to discipleship. This is both a healing and a call story because Bartimaeus makes a decision to follows Jesus. How many times I have heard adults tell me, I want to believe again like I did when I was a child. This is a clear statement they are in need of being able to see again just like Bartimaeus.
Are your spiritual eyes on yet? What corners of the church, of society need serious reformation in this 21st century? Where are our blind spots? Will a reformer arise from among us? Should one arise, what will we do to him or her? Will we silence them? What are we allowing to go unchallenged today that will one day cause our children and grandchildren to shake their heads at how blind we were to the gospel of life?
A Cloak that covers us –> Stinky Pride:
What is the cloak we are hiding behind? How does our cloak prevent us from growing and expanding? All of us are people who children look to for leadership. Has our cloak absorbed our sweat that causes us to stink — it’s called stinky pride – stubbornness – limited thinking, unable to take the lid off the box, taming the gospel. What is it that prevents us from seeing and doing what is right in our time?
Contrast what disciples asked for and what Bartimaeus asked for! The disciples asked for the cloak of power and authority – which caused a stink within Jesus followers. Bartimaeus conversely threw off his cloak and asked for a more simple gift of sight! The ability to see beyond oneself, for true leadership skill, the ability to see and define a vision of the future, an ability to create and follow a road map created by Jesus. We are told Bartimaeus, once he could see followed Jesus to Jerusalem – he picked up his cross and followed Jesus. One can not lead others when they stuck in their power and authority.
Take off the Lid, Throw off the Cloak, Stand Naked:
One must throw off their cloak – bare their heart and soul to Jesus, stand naked before God and ask for sight even when one has perfectly healthy eyes so they can see beyond themselves and lead others to salvation.