Have you ever felt completely powerless? (Pause) Have you ever had that feeling that there is nothing you can do to change a certain situation, even though you desperately want it to change? We all have these feelings from time to time. I'll give you a little example. Many of you may know that I am a little bit of an Alabama fan. Just a little! A couple of weeks ago, like all fans of Alabama football, I found myself in a really frustrating situation during the final two minutes of that game against Texas A&M. Still, no amount of yelling at the television, long distance arguing with the referees or pacing the floor could change the outcome of that game. Nothing I could do would make a difference. Being powerless is no fun at all, is it? But seriously, I am sure that many of you have felt overwhelmed or powerless over aspects of life which were far more important than college football. If we live long enough,we know that we will eventually find ourselves in situations which are out of our control. It could be health issues, financial troubles or family situations. No matter how hard you try...you cannot fix some problems all by yourself. So what should you do? You should do what Bartimaeus did. Go to Jesus. You should call out to Jesus as Bartimaeus did in today's Gospel.
Bartimaeus had two really big problems, didn't he? He was blind and he was a beggar. He was an outcast in a truly hopeless situation. When he heard that Jesus was near, however, he knew that there was a reason for hope. He called out in a loud voice “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” You know, the disciples tried to keep him away from Jesus. Still he continued to call out. He had faith that Jesus was the Messiah and that he would be healed. We are told that when Jesus called for him to come, Bartimaeus threw off his cloak, his only possession. This action represented a radical break with the life he had known up until that moment. His faith was that strong. He knew that with Jesus's mercy, he would be able to fundamentally change his life.
The story of Bartimaeus is one of the greatest miracles found in the Scriptures. It is the last healing miracle recorded in the Gospel of Mark. It is also one of the only miracles in which the person healed, is referred to by name. Perhaps this is for a reason. Once he was cured, Bartimaeus didn't just leave as others had, but followed Jesus and became a committed disciple. For us today, his story is important on another level. We know that in the Scriptures, physical blindness is often used as a symbol for spiritual weakness or confusion. So today's Gospel is a call for each of us to discern where blindness exists in our own lives. Once we pinpoint our impediment, we should ask Jesus to cure us and then follow Him. What are the blind spots in your life? Often we don't want to admit that they exist, do we? For example, take the father who works long hours and is forever away from home, neglecting his wife and children He returns home one day to find his marriage suffering or his family split apart. He had been blind to the fact that what they really needed was his love, presence and caring. And what about moral blindness? This is the blindness that says “Its OK to lie....everyone does it.” “Its OK to cheat on my wife, husband, girlfriend, etc. They are not giving me what I need or deserve anyway”. “Its OK to skip Mass on Sunday. Sometimes I'm just too busy or too tired.” “It 's OK to lose myself in this bottle of wine. Nobody knows what I am going through”.
Yes, we know that we all have problems and blind spots in our lives. So go to Jesus and pray. In Matthew Chapter 7, Jesus says “Keep asking and it will be given to you. Keep searching and you will find. Keep knocking and the door will be opened to you.” We know that when we pray, God moves. On the flip side.....if we don't pray, God does not move. I am reminded of the words of the famous hockey star Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you do not take.” So....take that shot. Take the time to pray. When you come to the Eucharist today recognize that, like Bartimaeus, we are dependent upon God's mercy. Leave your powerlessness behind and give yourself over to His loving care.