The blind beggar heard the crowd passing him on the road. Feet hurrying, people talking, all moving quickly along. What was going on? “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” It was enough. Immediately the beggar shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” He was making a nuisance of himself. Shut up, they warned him. But this was not a man to be silenced. He had heard of the Nazarene. He knew, beyond a shadow of doubt that he would help him. This was his chance and no one, no crowd was going to stop him. So, he shouted louder, “Son of David, have pity on me!” (Mk 10: 46-52).
Jesus stopped. The crowd stopped. The man was still shouting. Jesus ordered that he be brought to him. And now those very people who wanted to be rid of the noisy beggar had to make way for him to bring him to the Lord.
These two men stood on the dusty roadway, face to face. One, the light of the world. The other in darkness. Then, with courtesy, with respect Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”
What a question! Today the Lord is asking you this question. He is asking how he can help you. How he can serve you. Of course he knows what you need, just as he knew what the beggar needed. But he wants you to turn to him believing absolutely that he will hear you and heal you. “The Lord,” the prophet Isaiah said centuries before, “is waiting to show you favour” (Is 30:18). This is the God who is “full of tenderness and compassion,” who is always ready to help us if we could only believe. Trust is the bottom line.
Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, knew what he wanted above all else. “Lord let me see.” And because he had faith, it was done.
As we move into the New Year let us hear this question of Jesus. How will you answer? What is it that you really and truly want above all else? Go deep into your heart, beyond the chatter of the crowd, beyond the endless distractions of the day and listen. The Lord stands waiting, knocking at your door (Rev 3:20). He is patient; we too must be patient, and above all have faith.
Then, with humility, maybe you can turn the question and ask, “Lord, what do you want me to do for you?” What is he asking of you this day, this year? At the end of the story in St Mark’s Gospel, Bartimaeus “immediately received his sight and followed him on the way.” How will you respond?
Sr Redempta Twomey