Mission Society of the Philippines



Mk 10: 46-52


A STORY WAS once told about a blind man selling some stuff, like fruits, cigarettes, candies etc., close to a train station. One day, during rush hours, three young men were in hurry to catch the train. While running toward the train door, they accidentally hit the blind man’s stuff and these, including the coins, were all over scattered. The youngest of the three men saw how the blind man was groping for all the scattered stuff. He felt guilty of what had happened and thus, he decided to get off at the next train station and returned to the station where the blind man was. When he got there, he helped the blind vendor gathering all the stuff. When it was done, he told the blind man, “Here are all the stuff that you are selling, plus the coins. In payment for what we have done to you, I give you also this little amount for you.” Afterward, the blind man asked the young man, “Are you Jesus Christ?”

This story of a blind vendor can be compared to the story of a blind beggar mentioned in the gospel. His name is Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus. Despite his being blind, Bartimaeus was able to recognize Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of David.

Firstly, what is striking in Bartimaeus is his desire to see. The sense of sight is one of the important bodily senses. The eyes show a view around us, and these give us direction on our way. These were absent in Bartimaeus’ life. Certainly, he was already fed up with living in blindness. As a result, he cried out to the Lord, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” He said this twice. And when he came to Jesus, Jesus asked him what he wanted. Bartimaeus replied, “Master, I want to see”.  Through the help of faith, he received his sight and now he is able to see.  Then, he followed Jesus on the way.

Secondly, through this gospel, we can also speak about our own blindness or the blindness of the world. There is the blindness of world leaders who press forward policies that are so short-term that lead to unrest. There is blindness that prevents us seeing how policies can create injustice and stop development. There is blindness that sees global warming as a reality, yet refuses to act on it with urgency.

There are factors that make people ‘spiritually’ blind. There are people who are blinded by their selfishness, and therefore, are unable offer help to people in need. There are people who are insensitive and indifferent, and thus, fail to see the real world before them.

The modern popes talk about man’s spiritual blindness. Pope Francis once said, “Sin is a blindness of the spirit, which prevents us from seeing what is most important, from fixing our gaze on the love that gives us life. This blindness leads us little by little to dwell on what is superficial, until we are indifferent to others and to what is good. When we only look to ourselves, we become blind, lifeless and self-centered, devoid of joy and freedom” (Mar 5, 2016).

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI said that physical blindness has great significance in the Gospels because it represents man who needs God’s light, the light of faith. It is essential to acknowledge one’s blindness, one’s need for this light, otherwise one could remain blind forever. The blind Bartimaeus represents mankind, the Pope went on to say, because he “represents man who has lost the light and knows it, but has not lost hope” (Oct 29, 2012).

We need to ask some grace from God to get rid of our spiritual blindness. The grace of God can help us to get rid of our selfishness, or our insensitivity to the needs of others. Indeed, the grace of God heals us. AMEN.

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