This is one of the few Gospel passages in which the person Jesus heals actually is mentioned by name. It is Bartemaeus and he is a blind man who was sitting by the roadside begging. There were no Social Security, no Medicare and no Maine Care for him. He had to beg in order to eat. Undoubtedly he had heard of the wandering Rabbiwho healed the sick and preached the Good News of God’s love and mercy to those who would listen. He also knew the Scriptures about the Messiah because Bartemaeus called to him by name “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
The Gospel says that many rebuked him telling him to be quiet. But Bartemaeus was not to be silenced. He called out all the more loudly, probably annoying many around him. Jesus heard, stopped and said “Call him.” Sometimes perseverance is the key. (In our society we say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease…) Now that Jesus had spoken, the crowd took a different attitude. They said to Bartemaeus “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” Can you imagine the blind man’s excitement and the hope in his heart? He threw aside his cloak (very precious garment that serves as his blanket at night), sprang up and let himself be led to Jesus.
Jesus was clear. “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man answered just as clearly. “Master, I want to see.” Jesus responded to him “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” The Gospel says that immediately Bartemaeus received his sight and followed Jesus. What a story!
What is the message for us who have ailments and needs of all kinds? What is the message for us who deal with the sick and the elderly on a daily basis? On a personal basis, do we know and believe how much God loves us, how much Jesus wants us to turn to him with our needs? Do we have hope in his power to heal?
Here in St. Mary’s Health System when we are dealing with patients, residents and clients, do we believe that we are God’s instruments, his very voice? When we say “How can I help you?” or “Is there something I can do for you?” do we say this with the kindness, compassion and patience of Jesus?
I offer these thoughts, these questions to ponder and a prayer that each of us will never hesitate to turn to Jesus with hope for the healing of mind, heart and body. It is also my hope that all of us will be kind and compassionate whenever we ask “How can I help you?” or “What can I do for you?” Jesus accomplishes some of his miracles today through our doctors and nurses and through medicines and procedures. We indeed can be his instruments of healing.
Sr. Suzanne Beaudoin, SSCh
Director of Pastoral Care