A few years ago there was a movie about a man named Thomas Anderson. He was special, but he didn’t know how special he was. People started chasing him, wanted to corner him and make him work for them, especially a bunch of guys who wore sunglasses. One day he got whisked off the street and into a limo, taken to meet a man who offered him a choice. Take the red pill and see the world as it really is, or take the blue pill and live life as it’s been lived before, ignorant of why you might be special. The guy took the red pill, and was able to escape the Matrix of illusion and see reality, about the world and about himself.
Bartimaeus was somebody who would have been easy to overlook. There must have been beggars almost everywhere in the Holy Land of Jesus’ time: the local economy was in a recession and Judea was one of the poorest parts of the world. There was no safety net: people who had physical disabilities had to make their living begging if they didn’t have a family to take care of them. Women who were widows and childless, orphans, people who had birth defects or who had lost a limb, deaf and dumb people, and people who were blind, were all left to beg in order to get a little cash in order to live. Bartimaeus isn’t even a personal name; Bar-timaeus means “Son of Timaeus”, he was a faceless, no-name person. Yet in spite of his blindness, he knows exactly who Jesus is, the Son of David, the promised one This no-name is more than he appears to be.
What is amazing is that the people around him are telling him to be quiet. With all the beggars around, why would anyone tell Bartimaeus to be quiet? A blind man is sitting by the road in broad daylight and folks want to keep it a secret. It’s very odd. Jesus, of course, doesn’t pay attention to what the crowds are telling him; he sees Bartimaeus sitting there and asks him what he wants. And when Bartimaeus asks for his sight back, Jesus gives it to him.
When we look at this story, need to look for the Bartimaeus trying to get our attention. Bartimaeus can be the voice of the youth, calling for us to give them a future where there is hope. Bartimaeus can be the voice of the elderly, calling for us to take care of them in their last years just as they took care of us in our first years. Bartimaeus can be those who struggling for a living, those who are poor, who are calling for justice. Bartimaeus can be anyone who is left out, anyone whose voice people are trying to quiet. Bartimaeus can be a threat, because he’s the one who’s trying to tell us a truth that we may not want to hear.
We need to look for the Truth, especially in places we don’t want to see. It can be easy to take the Blue Pill and ignore what we don’t want to put up with. To say all life is sacred means all life is sacred, it’s not something that anyone’s actions or opinions can take away. It has to do with every decision we make as a society.
Body and Blood of Christ help us see what’s real: Christ opens our eyes. Jesus wants us to see the needs around us and respond to them. Jesus calls us to come together, to be His presence, to be His instruments of enlightenment. In Christ, we can put aside the distracting voices that try to take us away from what’s real, put aside the selfish ideas that keep us from the Gospel. Christ makes us what we are created to be, gives us what we need for happiness, makes us lights for the world.