When I was six years old, I got my first pair of glasses. The first time I put them on I was amazed at how differently I saw the world. Everything was suddenly clear: I could read the chalkboard at school without squinting; I could make out shapes and objects that previously had been blurry. It was a wonderful revelation! I imagine that many of you who wear glasses or contacts have felt the same way at some point in your life.
The theme of sight plays an important part in our Gospel for this Sunday. A blind beggar, Bartimaeus, receives his physical sight, when he is healed by Jesus. However, one could argue that even though he was physically blind, Bartimaeus “saw” more clearly than any other person present in the crowd.
How can this be? The answer lies in the spiritual sight that Bartimaeus possesses. When Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is walking by, he immediately identifies him as “Son of David,” meaning that he recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, the one foretold by the prophets. When Jesus calls him, he throws off his cloak, possibly his only possession, and runs to Jesus. After he is healed, Jesus tells him that he is free to go, that his faith has saved him. Bartimaeus, however, does not depart from Jesus. Instead, he follows him “on the way” to Jerusalem.
So often, we become so focused on physical realities, that we fail to recognize the deeper spiritual realities present all around us. The lesson we gain from Bartimaeus is that spiritual insight can be a far greater gift in our lives, since it helps us to recognize the presence of God all around us. As we go throughout this week, I invite you to ask God for the gift of spiritual insight, in order to recognize his presence all around us, and seek to do God’s will.
This weekend, the Church also celebrates World Mission Sunday. On one Sunday in October every year, the Church reminds each of us of our call to share the Gospel of Christ with the world. We offer our prayers and our support to those who work in the mission fields, and who seek to bring the Gospel to those who have not yet heard it. We also recognize that all of us are called to be missionary disciples, following Jesus’ command and example. As we in the Diocese of London seek to become a Mission-Oriented Church that forms disciples of Jesus Christ, we pray that God will give us the strength to share the Gospel with the people we meet.
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB