As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”
…Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight… (Luke 10:46-49, 52)
This is what happened when the Lord Jesus was leaving Jericho. In two and a half weeks, I will be entering Jericho myself.
The blind man had the sense to cry out to the Lord, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” The blind man persevered and kept calling for help even when they tried to make him stop.
We pilgrims are going to the Holy Land to cry out like Bartimaeus, to beg the Lord to have pity on us, to ask God to do good things for us and help us.
Bartimaeus had the faith and the courage to ask the Lord for what he wanted. He wanted to see—which is a reasonable enough thing to want. Most of us take it for granted. It’s not like Bartimaeus was asking for something extravagant, like an Xbox or a Maserati.
The blind man asked for sight with confidence and trust. The Lord answered his prayer.
Christ gave the blind man a good gift. That is the way He answers prayers. We ask for what we want, and He gives us what is best. He gives us exactly what we need to get to heaven.
The Lord gave Bartimaeus his sight. But why doesn’t He heal everyone who can’t see? He opened the ears of a deaf man—why doesn’t He heal everyone who can’t hear? Why does the Lord give more earthly goods to some people than to others? He doesn’t always give us exactly what we ask for in prayer—does that mean we should give up praying?
That way, we would have enough money to paint the church, fix the roof, replace all the old air-handlers for the heat and a/c, build an elevator, hire a car and driver for Fr. Bob (N.B. my curate–loves hot dogs) so he could sample all the gourmet hotdogs in town–and we would still have some money left over for filet mignon at the reception when the Archbishop comes to visit in December.
But the rain came, and there weren’t any thousand dollar bills. There weren’t even any twenty dollar bills. It was just water. Let’s praise God that He sent us the water that we need!
Anyway: Why did the Lord work the miracles that He did work when He walked the earth? After all, He didn’t really come to work miracles. He came to die for our sins and to rise again from the dead. That is the BIG miracle, after all—that He removed the condemnation of the whole human race and gave us hope for eternal life.
There is more: His miracles demonstrate the love in His heart. He worked miracles of gentle compassion. He never did a miracle to scare anyone or harm anyone. Of course He didn’t—the very idea of Jesus Christ doing an evil magic trick like the Egyptian sorcerers who fought with Moses—the very idea is absurd. But that is precisely the point: the Lord Jesus only worked miracles to help people because His Sacred Heart is consumed with love for every human being.
The miracles of Christ also give us a glimpse of what awaits us in heaven. They are signs of the coming Kingdom of God. Under the reign of sin, the human race is burdened by many evils. The miracles that the Lord Jesus worked while He was on earth show us that these evils are temporary. In the Kingdom of heaven, there will be no blindness, no sickness, no hunger—no suffering of any kind.
It will be as the Lord prophesied through Jeremiah:
Behold…I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst…They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them. I will lead them to brooks of water on a level road, so that none shall stumble. (Jeremiah 31:8-9)
Lord Jesus, Son of David, have pity on us! Let us walk alongside You to the Promised Land!
No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. In the same way, it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest, but rather the one who said to him: You are my son:this day I have begotten you (Hebrews 5:4-5)
Jesus is our High Priest, our representative before God.
The sacred priesthood is many things. I never realized it involved being a budget analyst.
But above all, the priesthood is a participation in this office of Christ: to stand in His place and beg the Father to pour out heavenly gifts.
This is what the priest does at the Holy Mass. The priest stands at the altar to pray for good things from the God—for the best things, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the transformation of bread and wine into the Lord’s Body and Blood.
We priests are here to do this work for you: to pray through, with, and in Christ for you. It is a special privilege we enjoy, to be chosen to do this—as we heard, “no one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God.”
Let’s pray together, dear brothers and sisters–dear sons and daughters in Christ–that God will have pity on us and be good to us!