Tuesday, October 20th Mark 10:46-52

“They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.” Mark 10:46-52

I remember one blind student when I was in the seminary. I don’t know who was more amazing, the woman or her dog. They went everywhere together – and they were always on time for class. The dog would sit quietly throughout the class session and then bring her boss to the next appointment. I’m remembering this woman today for two reasons.

First, I never knew her name. I had a number of classes with her but I never engaged in a single conversation with her. I stayed in my own little world and never attempted to enter hers. I was the crowd, she was Bartimaeus. I marveled at her ability to cope with life, to thrive despite of her blindness, but I didn’t relate with her. I left her on the outside of my life.

Second, remembering her teaches me something about Bartimaeus. That woman got along quite well with her blind perspective on life. She could do almost anything she wanted to. When Jesus restored his sight, Bartimaeus became a different person, he gained a new perspective on life.

When our attention turns to those on the edges of the crowd, to those folks we recognize but have never allowed ourselves to reach out and engage them, we are tempted to see them as victims. We are tempted to feel sorry for them. But that we need not do. Far better to see them as our teachers, as our colleagues, as people who can help us gain a new and deeper perspective on what it means to be a human being.

Jesus heard the cries of one who wanted some help. Do we?

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, there is more than one kind of blindness. There is the inability to see and there is the refusal to see. Open our eyes so that we might see those who live on the edges of life, on the edges of the crowd. You responded to the cries of a blind man, encourage us to respond likewise to those people whom we might help. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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