They 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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
It helps to take a close look at the blind man, Bartimaeus, in today’s Gospel reading. He appears to have no one to care for him, no guide dog, no health insurance, no voice-recognition software. He survived by begging on the busy road that ran from Jericho to Jerusalem. Street people, then. as now, hoped for some coins. What did they usually get? Curses and insults.
Imagine what went on in Bartimaeus’ mind and heart when he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was approaching. How could he get Jesus’ attention? Bartimaeus used what he had: his voice. He kept shouting “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” We use those similar words at the start of every Mass. Whatever is going through our hearts and minds while we say “ Lord, have mercy,” it helps to keep saying it, keep praying it, keep thinking about the words. It healed Bartimaeus.
—Fr. Paul Harman, S.J. is a Jesuit of the USA Northeast Province. He has worked in Jesuit formation and over many years has been a valued administrator at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.
In the comfort of your love, I pour out to you, my Savior, the memories that haunt me, the fears that stifle me, the sickness that prevails upon me, and the frustration of all the pain that weaves about within me. Lord, help me to see your peace in my turmoil, your compassion in my sorrow, your forgiveness in my weakness, and your love in my need. Touch me, O Lord, with your healing and strength. To you, dear God, be all thanks and glory! —Prayer to Christ the Healer