It helps to take a close look at the blind man, Bartimaeus, in today’s Gospel reading. He appears to have no one to care for him, no guide dog, no health insurance, no voice-recognition software. He survived by begging on the busy road that ran from Jericho to Jerusalem. Street people, then. as now, hoped for some coins. What did they usually get? Curses and insults.
Imagine what went on in Bartimaeus’ mind and heart when he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was approaching. How could he get Jesus’ attention? Bartimaeus used what he had: his voice. He kept shouting “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” We use those similar words at the start of every Mass. Whatever is going through our hearts and minds while we say “ Lord, have mercy,” it helps to keep saying it, keep praying it, keep thinking about the words. It healed Bartimaeus.
—Fr. Paul Harman, S.J. is a Jesuit of the USA Northeast Province. He has worked in Jesuit formation and over many years has been a valued administrator at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.