Bartimaeus and Jesus – Call and Response

Yesterday I entered into a healing retreat at the monastery, led by Fr. Jim Clarke. I was suddenly free to attend when another commitment was canceled. During the morning several other attendees shared similar experiences with me. For me, this was the activity of the Spirit, bringing together those called to hear the message of healing being offered. The day was filled with sacred storytelling – from the pages of scripture and from our lives. The sound of water flowing in the baptismal font provided the backdrop and oil became sacred as we blessed each other’s stories, placing the sign of the cross on our partner’s forehead. It reminded me of ritual moments celebrated around the world when seekers begin to formalize their faith journey within a community. For me, it echoed my personal experience of traveling with my husband when he chose to become Catholic. The day brought a surprising forum for my dream from the night before, giving me the space to share and honor its meaning in my life, and a channel for healing to begin. An  important piece of wisdom I heard was: Jesus asked questions but gave very few answers. In today’s Gospel we hear an example of this in the story of the blind, beggar Bartimaeus as he cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”.  And a dialogue begins…

“And Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; rise, he is calling you.’ And throwing off his mantle, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Master, let me receive my sight.” And Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way, your faith has made you well.’ And he immediately received his sight and followed him on the way.” (Mk 10:49-52)

Have you ever had a Bartimaeus experience? Have you learned more from the questions or the answers in your life? We welcome your comments.