In reading about Bartimaeus the blind beggar in this week’s Gospel, what is most striking is his persistent and fervent cry for help. When the crowd urges him to be quiet, he cries out to Jesus all the more. This image of a blind man begging for mercy seems far removed from our own experience. The world we live in today values independence and self-sufficiency. Consequently, we are at times reluctant to ask for help even when we truly need it because doing so may be seen as a sign of weakness. So, why does Bartimaeus make his voice heard above the crowd? He simply can’t help himself. He knows what’s at stake – spending the remainder of his life blind and alone or humbly submitting himself to Jesus, trusting in His mercy. Hearing that Jesus is near and with hope welling up inside of him, he is impelled to call out, confident that Jesus will help him.
In our time of need, Jesus is also very near to us. Are we aware of this? Do we reach out to Him, or are we silenced by the voice of reason telling us to “hang in there,” to “handle it?” The Lord wants us to depend on Him, to trust in Him completely. From the Cross, Jesus himself cried out to the Father, so it’s clearly not a sign of weakness. Rather it is placing ourselves in God’s hands and resting in His plan for us. We can be confident that when we cry out, when we speak from the depths of our being, our loving Father will not ignore our pleas. In fact, He assures us that it is precisely in those moments of weakness that He works most powerfully in us. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). Try as we might, we cannot save ourselves. No amount of money or modern medicine can fix many of the problems that cause us to suffer. The Lord alone has the power to do this, and He’s just waiting for us to call His name.
– Kelley Holy