I think it would be an enlightening experience to reflect seriously on our five senses. Namely: seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting. We take these personal actions as being our most significant contact with and knowledge of people and of the world.
Needless to say, we take the use of these senses for granted. But let me ask you this. Which one of these senses would cause you the most grief if you lost it? Well, think about it. I did, and decided that the loss of vision would affect me the most. Why?
I would not be able to appreciate art. Unable to see movies. Incapable of grasping the beauty of nature around me. And above all, the inability of seeing the faces of friends. So, I really feel sorry for the blind.
In the Gospel for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 10:46-52), we notice a rather curious encounter between Jesus and a blind man named Bartimaeus. Although he can’t see him, Bartimaeus “knows” that Jesus is nearby and shouts at the top of his voice, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.” Much of the crowd around him thinks he is making too much noise, so they attempt to quiet him down. But that only makes Bartimaeus shout even more loudly, “Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus is now very well aware of his presence, and asks him, “What do you want for me to do for you?” Bartimaeus replies, “Master, I want to see.” Now comes the curious part of this encounter. Jesus knows that the blind man is requesting a miracle, but but he is also aware that this would be a good opportunity to teach others that there is another form of “vision.”
So, Jesus decides to point out subtly that there are two levels of “seeing:” The “exterior” and the “interior”. The “exterior” level is the actual vision itself where one can see other people. This is the level for which Bartimaeus asks for the miracle.
There is also the “interior” level which is the level of faith which Jesus thinks is important to have. Jesus cures the exterior level primarily because Bartimaeus has the interior level–that of faith. He believes that Jesus can cure him which is why his approach to Jesus is less than subtle.
Remember, Jesus says to Bartimaeus in reference to the miracle: “Your faith has saved you.” Bartimaeus had the faith that Jesus could and would cure him. However, keep in mind that the Lord can perform as many miracles as he wants, when we wants, and how he wants. The advantage of faith is it gives us the hope to focus on a friend helping a friend. Namely, Jesus helping those who believe he can do wonders for them.
Though there are many lessons that one can learn from the Gospel, I would like to offer a point of reflection. Above all, from the time of our Baptism we have received the power and the possibility to strengthen and deepen our faith. The power comes from the grace of having received the Holy Spirit. The possibility comes from listening carefully to the ideas of Sacred Scripture, and from attending and understanding classes on the dominant concepts of our belief system.
Since there is much darkness in the world today, via ignorance and purposeful misunderstanding, it would be FAITH that would give us the light and enable us to “see” in the that darkness.