In this week’s gospel text, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus stumbles out of anonymity and stands front and center — not only in front of Jesus a long time ago, but in front of thousands of churches who are reading about his encounter with the rabbi from Nazareth. They face each other, Jesus and this ordinary but determined man who will draw from God’s inexhaustible depths of compassion. Jesus looks at him and asks the deceptively simple question: “What do you want me to do for you?” There isn’t a moment’s hesitation in the reply: “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Into the intensity and desperation Jesus says quietly, “Receive your sight.” Three simple words make up the response, and Bartimaeus’ universe floods with light, with sight, and with insight.
What do you want me to do for you? It’s a question which is posed to us. Well, we might say with Bartimaeus, “I want my universe flooded with light, I want clear vision, and I need insight.”
Individuals and churches are invited to spring to their feet, throw off their cloaks, and ask for their hearts’ desires. Damn the torpedoes, and good riddance to caution, to propriety, to the fears that keep us in the dark — we need clear vision and deep insight.
God grant that we may hear God’s question — What do you want me to do for you? — and respond as creatively and courageously as did Bartimaeus.