I wonder how many times Jesus he rolled his eyes and look heavenward mumbling under his breath for the umpteenth time, “Don’t you get it.”
The apostles keep misunderstanding his meaning, message and mission. St. Mark tells two stories about blindness. The first story depicts a blind man who sees fuzzily, squinting, he says that people look like tall trees walking around. Then Jesus places his hands on him and then the man sees clearly.
In recounting this first incident, Mark is insinuating a parallel with the apostles. They are also blind and their faith in Jesus, like this man’s, is coming very slowly, in stages. In the second story, however, where Bartimaeus sees instantly, Mark seems to be admitting that the apostles seem to be finally getting it.
And what are they getting? Listen to this: Discipleship with Jesus means an upside down world where the first are last and the last first, where one forgives one’s enemy seventy times seven, where the one who loses his life will save it, where the miserable, chest-striking publican in the back of the Temple is more worthy than the triumphant Pharisee in front, where proud fathers run to their wayward sons instead of the other way around, where one gives his coat when only asked for as shirt, where enemies are to be prayed for, good deeds are to be done in secret, and the one who wishes to rule over all must be the servant of all.
Talk about this radical teaching! Think about what you just heard. That’s a tough Christian mission that won’t get you very far in a world of greed and me-first. No wonder the apostles had trouble seeing Jesus and his message, and maybe, if they did see, they didn’t want to and pretended to be blind. Yes, seeing Jesus like Jesus brings a lot of difficulties.
The truth is, if we will admit it, that in some areas of our hearts, in some areas of the spirit, like the apostles in Mark, we have misunderstood Jesus and his message, that we have spiritual blind spots.
But Jesus is calling us: What do you want of me to do for you?” he asks. Right away we can think of a million things, but a more reflective response should be that of Bartimeuas: “Lord, I want to see.”
God walks by our say as we pray: “From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.” Psalm 72:14
Lord, I pray for all my Sonshine Friends to humbly see more clearly what you need us to change to walk in your spirit of wisdom and peace.