"Halloween is the time of year when we see that Christ has so triumphed over Evil, that even little children can mock the Devil with impunity." - Fr. VictorThe story of such hope, such impunity, is one we heard this morning... on the side of the road outside Jericho is Bartimaeus, son of Timeaus. He is a blind beggar. He has heard of Jesus, the miracles he has done. And now as this crowd goes in front of him, he hears that Jesus is among them. "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." Many ordered him to be quiet, to shut up, to stop bothering Jesus. But he would not give up, he had hope... "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
Call him here says Jesus. When Bartimeaus hears that Jesus is calling to him, he springs up, throws off his cloak, and comes to Jesus. Just a think of someone sitting near the entrance to Jericho, giving up what he had, his few meager possessions, but he leaves those behind to see Jesus. What do you want me to do for you? asks Jesus. Rabbouni (my teacher) let me see again. He asks.
Go your faith has made you well. Immediately his sight is regained and he follows Jesus to Jerusalem. We can lean from Bartimaeus:
-what it means that Jesus is the messiah and teacher of us all
-to be persistent in one's faith, is valued by Jesus,
-when called by Jesus to follow him, to throw off all that would hold us back
He gets what the rich man was looking for a few weeks back, he gets peace in his heart, for Bartimaeus was willing to give up everything, and he follows Jesus after his healing, it his faith that sets him free, a willingness to ask and to follow where it leads.
The crowd that shouts him down, fails to see the faith in another person, wanting their own time with Jesus not to be bothered by the blind beggar. Sometimes we are blind to our own needs, and sometimes we are the crowd failing to see the needs around us. Yet we must always ask God to help "open our eyes to see your hand at work in the world about us."
May our eyes be opened to God's work and may we follow in faith where Jesus is leading us. Maybe this Halloween, we should dress up as blind Bartimaeus and remember his impudence and his hope in Jesus and in turn remember the faith that is inside us, for with a little help from Jesus, our eyes will be opened to the works of our God in the world today.
Let me end with a poem by Anne Sexton entitled Welcome Morning to help us open our eyes…
There is joy in all:Let us see with the eyes of faith to recognizing the Spirit of God in every human being and for discerning the presence of God in every place and moment of our lives. Amen.
in the hair I brush
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with
in the chapel of eggs I cook
in the outcry of the kettle that heats my coffee
in the spoon and the chair that cry "hello there, Anne"
in the godhead of the table that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
and I mean, / though often forget, / to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.
So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.
The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard, dies young.