April 4, 2020
A Thought for Today
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. Today’s reading, the healing of Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52, is the last healing story in this gospel. Bartimaeus was a blind beggar who sat by the roadside. He cried out for Jesus to have mercy on him. He was told by the people around him to be quiet, but he cried out even louder. Jesus called Bartimaeus to him. He asked what Bartimaeus wanted from him, and the reply was, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus told him that his faith made him well. Bartimaeus regained his sight and followed Jesus into Jerusalem.
The people around Jesus in this gospel were not able to see who he was. They were blind, even when he told them outright. In the story right before this reading, James and John still didn’t understand what it meant to be a disciple. They asked to be seated next to Jesus in his glory. The rest of the disciples were angered, and Jesus once again explained to them that to be great meant to be a servant. They still couldn’t see clearly.
The story of blind Bartimaeus is a story about the disciples and all of us. Our understanding, our sight, is limited. Even though we know the rest of the story, of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we still don’t understand. To be great means to be a servant, to be willing to sacrifice even our lives for others.
Who are the people still working in this pandemic? The servants among us: the doctors and nurses, the grocery clerks, the care providers, the first responders, the delivery drivers, the food preparers. Many of these people are the ones who have fought for a living wage and have been told that their jobs are not worthy of more money. And now? They are sacrificing their lives to serve the rest of us as we work from home. Our sight is limited.
How many times have we put church programs on life support because we can’t let them die? How many times have we put the building over the needs of the people? Now we have the gift of seeing what is important; our relationship with God and each other. Our sight is limited.
Our cry to God is the same as Bartimaeus’ cry. “My teacher, let me see again.” May God open our eyes, that we may truly see what is important. It isn’t our money. It isn’t our prestige. It isn’t our intelligence. What is important is being humble and a servant to all.