My Dear Sisters and Brothers! There are circumstances that change the way we perceive the same thing or the same event, like in the case of that drawing showing the gate to heaven.
The man from the Gospel reading, whose name was Bartimaeus, had a number of circumstances which changed his perception too. The first one was when he heard what other people were saying about Jesus. He didn’t see Jesus but he must have pondered and treasured what he had heard about the Good Teacher. It had sunk deeply into his soul. It had sunk so deeply that from the depth of his misery the seed of faith was growing. When he was shouting: ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me’ the bystanders heard only complains of a miserable man. What Jesus heard was a profession of faith. That’s why Jesus said to the blind beggar: ‘Your faith has saved you.’
This Sunday, as we are holding World Mission Sunday, Bartimaeus appears before us as a missionary because in front of everyone he did bear a witness to Jesus. Each one of us can also tell others that we trust Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. People may scold us, they may try to silence us, like some people scolded and tried to silence Bartimaeus. However the blind beggar didn’t argue with them. He just kept repeating that he believed that Jesus could have pity on him.
St Mark concluded today’s Gospel reading by telling us that Bartimaeus after being healed followed Jesus along the road. Just imagine the man who used to be blind walking and seeing the people, the scenery along the way and seeing Jesus. It must have been wonderful for him indeed. However a few days after having his eyes opened to the beauty of the world Bartimaeus saw an event which no one would like to see, to see a loved one dying a brutal death. Bartimaeus got his sight only to see his healer dying on the cross a few days later. Maybe on that first Good Friday he wished he were still blind so that he didn’t have to see his Rubbuni stretched between heaven and earth on the cross. However he was not spared the scenery of Calvary so that with his very eyes he could see how much his life was valued by God who gave his Son not only to heal him of his blindness but to open the gate of heaven to him too. The Son of God who died on the cross has been the gate to heaven for Bartimaeus and for each one of us. That’s why the exhortation of the Prophet Jeremiah from our First Reading applies to us too, to us also the Lord is saying today: ‘Shout with joy! Proclaim! Parise! Shout: The Lord has saved his people!’
Most of us, apart from an occasional visit to an eye doctor to get new glasses, didn’t need such a profound healing like the blind Bartimaeus. However we have been given divine treatment by the death and Resurrection of Jesus so that we can see what happens to us in a different light. The death of the little girl gave a new meaning to the drawing she made. The Death and Resurrection of Jesus have given a new and eternal meaning to what happens to us and to what happens to our world. There is much more to see in it all than the sharpest eyes can see. Faith allows us to see in all life circumstances our Divine Brother, Jesus Christ our gate to heaven. Faith also allows us to get a glimpse of our Heavenly Father awaiting us at the horizon with his welcoming arms stretched out as wide as they arms of his Son Jesus, were stretched out on the cross. Therefore as Catholics ‘We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard’ so that other could also see and hear what he have seen and heard with eyes of faith.