Life-Changing and Life-Saving Experience

Have you experienced being saved from something bad that could have happened? It could be a possible vehicular accident, or a sickness and injury, or an almost failing grade of a subject or two in school, or an unsuccessful relationship with persons, or a natural calamity like typhoon, earthquake, tsunami, and the like. But since we are all here, in one way or another we have overcome them, we have survived, we have come out victorious, we have been saved.

Today’s Gospel presents to us a blind man named Bartimaeus. There are four movements in this story: shouting out, stopping, healing, and following.

This man, Bartimaeus was at the side of the road, begging. But when he heard that Jesus was passing by, he shouted out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me!” This man could have heard about the healings that Jesus performed. By crying out to the Lord, he showed his faith in Him as one who can heal him and restore his sight. Many of our brothers and sisters are suffering in many ways nowadays, and they are crying out for help. Some of us may have experienced or are experiencing certain suffering and challenges in life and we cannot but cry out for help. Years ago, on Oct 15, a strong earthquake struck Bohol and the neighboring provinces in the Visayas. We, here in Cebu, felt the strength of the earthquake. I was then a Brother assigned with the Novices and when the earth shook, we went out of the building and called the others to do the same. One had difficulty in going out that he shouted, “tabang!” Good thing that one of his companions heard his call, helped and assisted him out of danger. We heard many similar stories when the strong typhoon Yolanda hit our country that same year. Many lives perished, properties were lost, some people were displaced and had nowhere to go. The words that came out from their lips were: “tabangi kami!” (Help us!). Their cries were like that of Bartimaeus waiting to be healed, waiting to be helped.

When Jesus heard the shouting of Bartimaeus, he stopped. This act of stopping gives us an idea that the Lord was aware that someone was calling out for Him and was in need of Him. This act of stopping is an act of concern which led to charity. Nowadays, people are busy with many things: work, studies, business. At times in our busyness, we do not have the opportunity to listen to the cries of family members in need of care and attention. Some could not devote time, they have so many concerns, they don’t care. This act of stopping done by Jesus as He heard Bartimaeus is an invitation for us to also stop for a while and give quality time to family members, friends, co-workers, classmates who may be depressed, broken, and in pain. Some even drop everything that they are doing in order to attend to those in dire need.

“That once-in-a-lifetime encounter with Jesus changed his life forever.”

Bartimaeus was then called by Jesus to come to Him and asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man responded, “Master, I want to see.” Then the Lord said, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” It was the faith that Bartimaeus had on Jesus that healed him. When we believe, when we put our faith and trust in the Lord, many things can happen. The healing of Bartimaeus was not only something physical, he was also saved from the misfortune that he has experienced because of being blind. That once-in-a-lifetime encounter with Jesus changed his life forever. In one way or another, we too have encountered the Lord Jesus in our life through persons who have done good to us, being with nature, through the Sacraments especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation. It is good then to recall the many healing and saving that the Lord has done to us. By acknowledging them, we become grateful, we become thankful.

When Bartimaeus regained his sight, he followed Jesus. This miracle done by Jesus is the last recorded in the Gospel of Mark. When the next scene opens, Jesus and the disciples with Bartimaeus will be already entering the city of Jerusalem to face his passion and death, and later on His resurrection. Once healed, Bartimaeus no longer remains on the side of the road, immersed in his daily sadness and darkness, he gets up and follows his Savior. He now has a new life with the Lord Jesus. We have seen many persons whose life changed after they have encountered the Lord in their lives. We call them saints and we honor them because they struggled and strive hard to follow Jesus until the end. A week from now we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day. Let us learn from their life and good examples.

“Once healed, Bartimaeus no longer remains on the side of the road, immersed in his daily sadness and darkness, he gets up and follows his Savior.”

Brothers and sisters, in our need we shout out to the Lord, and He stops to listen to us, heal and save us, and this experience leads us to follow Him. Today is World Mission Sunday. “Ecce ego mitte me!” (Here I am, send me). This is the motto of this Formation Center and we are reminded that each of us are missionaries sent for a mission. We are sent to our families, to our communities, to our workplaces, to the society, to wherever we are in order for the people to encounter the Savior, Jesus Christ, through us. Like Bartimaeus, let us open our eyes to everyone around us. Amen.

Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.

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