Are You Blind or Like Bartmaeus?

by Kathleen Glavich, SND on October 28, 2015

in Blogs

60a233d2-9bf8-491d-9c69-1f4a866be027Here is a guest blog from my friend Amanda Haberman:  My Great-Uncle Jim was legally blind and still driving his car weekly well into his 80s. This was comical to me as a teenager, but I’m sure it was alarming and dangerous in the eyes of my parents and probably his neighbors. While Uncle Jim would take the wheel, my Auntie Annette would sit in the passenger seat and be his “eyes” while he was driving.

You see, Auntie Annette didn’t have her license, and she had never driven a car in her life. So, she wasn’t going to let her husband’s deteriorating eyes keep her from running errands and making it to Mass. She would remind all of us just how close she lived to these locations; therefore, in her eyes it was “no big deal” that Uncle Jim was driving blind. So as long as Jim could use his limbs, he was driving her.

I am sure Uncle Jim was not thrilled to be driving, but he had very strong faith in my Auntie Annette. He trusted her to help him cross the street, put food on his plate, take medicine, put out matching clothes, and keep from falling. His faith in her was unshakable, even in the car.

Another man, Bartimaeus, also had faith. While being silenced by the crowds and ignored by other people following Jesus, Bartimaeus kept the faith. 12140778_10153096036971496_368669516974585934_nHe did not give up but continued to call out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” Calling Jesus by name—which in Hebrew means “God Saves”— is a powerful statement. We know from the Bible “there is not other name given under heaven by which we can be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Perhaps more striking were the words “Son of David.” By including this genealogy, the poor blind man revealed the greatest truth of the day—Jesus was the Messiah! Bartimaeus was stating that he believed Jesus was the Savior for whom the Jews had been waiting. This title declared he had blind faith in Jesus. It angered the Pharisees who wanted Jesus to respect and honor THEM. They felt that he did not give them enough attention. They were so blinded by  pride that they couldn’t see what this blind man could see: here before them was the Messiah. Jesus commended Bartimaeus for having the eyes of faith, for believing without seeing.

How lucky most of us are to have the gift of eyesight. We are not only able to drive our cars independently, but more importantly we are able to read the Bible, see the Mass, gaze at beautiful religious images, and see the beauty of God’s creation around us. Eyesight should give us unshakable faith! We have access to so much more than Bartimaeus. Let’s try this week to appreciate that our faith is affirmed through our eyesight every day. Let us not take this for granted! Let us be humbled by Bartimaeus, whose eyes had not seen the greatness of God’s creation, but whose words still exclaimed with extraordinary and absolute faith, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.”

What sights have you seen that deepen your faith?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Misencik November 3, 2015 at 8:31 am

Hey Sister,

Wonderful post. I love Bartimaeus. Characters like him are throughout the Bible. I call them the “opposites”. Here we have the blind man who can “see” what the people with sight can’t. Love it.

To your question. My son Kyle, although not blind in both eyes, is pretty much blind in one eye. He still gets around just fine with his good eye taking over most of work. To be honest, if I didn’t tell you of his restricted vision, you would not know. But what good vision that one eye has. He has the uncanny ability to see, without better words, what you want. The best way I can describe this is during Christmas. Over the course of the year he will observe your actions and come up with the best gift that you didn’t know you needed. It’s truly amazing.

Not to limit his abilities to just gifts, he also seems to say the right things at the right times. Without going into detail, he could see that my wife, Linda, was having problems with her parents, specifically, with her mother. Kyle, by explaining to Linda how her mother was probably feeling, by saying what her mother couldn’t, helped Linda cope with the situation.

Hopefully that answered your question. If not, I could go on.

Mark

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Kathleen Glavich, SND November 3, 2015 at 8:55 am

What a lovely tie-in to the story of Bartimaeus, Mark. Thanks for sharing this. You are blessed to have such a son. I too love the story of the blind beggar. When I lead people in a guided meditation through it, I ask, “What did Bartimaeus see when he was cured?” The face of Jesus. And it was love at first sight. Bartimaeus disobeyed. Instead of going on his way as Jesus ordered, he followed Jesus down the road . . . on the Way.

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