In Mark’s Gospel, this Sunday, we encounter Jesus as the one who restores our vision and grants us his new light and opens our eyes. But the Church reminds her children that to receive this light of Christ we need to boldly and in faith ask for it – as we see in the example of Bartimaeus the Blind.
Like the woman who touched Jesus’ tassel in faith and with courage, and was healed, so is the blind man, this Sunday, healed from his blindness. He then follows Jesus on his way. Clearly the theme of coming into the Light here is symbolic for understanding who is Jesus; what he is about, and how to follow him. The Church – herself filled with the light of Christ – understands this as she reflects it in her Opening Prayer:
“O Christ the Light, you had mercy on the man who was blind and opened his eyes, and he was in awe before your majesty. Shine the light of your knowledge and holiness into the recesses of our souls, that we too may be filled with wonder and awe in your presence.”
In the tradition of our Church’s faith, this light that Jesus gives, is understood to be the light of his Resurrection:
“During this Lent, grant us the light of your glorious resurrection, and we will glorify you,O Christ, now and forever.” In the Hoosoyo the Church recalls the title of Jesus as the one who is “Light from Light” and through the priest she asks the Lord:
We implore you: with the light of your knowledge, shine in our hearts and in the hearts of all people. Let us rejoice in the vision of your face, as did Bartimaeus on the road to Jericho
Thus, the image of the Light comes to symbolize for us Christ Jesus himself. As in a mosaic it is combined with other Christ centred spiritual themes from the New Testament fused together: knowing Jesus as the Christ; accepting his message (the Good News); entering the life of the Kingdom; living in the light of Christ’s resurrection.
Alongside these Gospel themes other spiritual themes are emphasized by the various gospels: The courage to ask so that we may receive (as in Mark’s Gospel); The humility to accept one’s blindness so that one may come to ask to be healed (as in John’s Gospel, Ch. 9); Conversion by the Light (as in the conversion of St. Paul in Luke-Acts 9:3). All these are graces that we need to ask for ourselves – and for each other – in prayer during this passage of Lent: that we too may come to know Christ Jesus better; that we may follow him more dearly in humility and with true conversion of heart; and that we may come to enter into the glorious light of his resurrection: the light of Easter. To Bashlom! Come in peace, O true Light of God, and shine in our hearts!
Fr Maroun El Kazzi