Dear Friends in Christ,
Desperate people do desperate things. Pride, self-consciousness and ego are less important when we are in need! Necessity is not only the mother of invention but the midwife of the human heart crying out to God for help. Bartimaeus is in such need. Unperturbed and undaunted by those who try to silence him, he shouts even louder. He is full of determination. Despite his blindness, he recognises clearly who Jesus is: ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ His boldness, courage and persistence are rewarded and he is called forward.
The encounter between blind Bartimaeus and the Light of the World is beautiful and simple: Bartimaeus wants his sight; Jesus sees his faith and heals him. Immediately he receives his sight and becomes a disciple. Bartimaeus is a model of faith. We can relate to this example when we too experience and acute or desperate need for help and grace. In this condition we too can be life this blind man – humble, eager to go to Jesus, tenacious and determined.
When the pressure is not so acute we can be less focused and clear about our needs for
God’s grace and help. Why is this so often the case? What can we do to become more stable and mature in our faith? The answer to these questions lies in the example of Bartimaeus. He was humble, admitting he needed help and healing. In our independent, self-assertive society it can be hard to confess our need. Bartimaeus, however, was indifferent to how he appeared to others – he was determined to come into the presence of Jesus.
We need to ask the Holy Spirit to give us the grace to admit humbly and even proclaim our dependence and need of Jesus. To make this humble admission is a sign of grace and strength, and we should welcome the impulse that moves us to pray, ‘Lord Jesus, have mercy on me and help me.’ It was this disposition and attitude which allowed Jesus to work so powerfully in Bartimaeus’ life. We too will know the freedom and joy of living in the power of the Holy Spirit as we confess and proclaim our faith in the risen Lord.