As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, that is the son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and cry out, “Son of David, have pity on me.” And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder,”Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man over, “Courage,” they said, “get up; He is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. Then Jesus spoke, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “Rabbuni, let me see again.” Jesus said to him “Go, your faith has saved you.” And at once his sight returned and he followed (Jesus) along the road.
And so it is even today:
The little one, who knows that home is not a safe place. Parents who are suppose to protect and nurture and provide for are only capable of neglect and violence. She is unsafe in her bed, her home, her neighborhood. She knows too young that evil lurks and safety is at bay. “Courage. Get up. Jesus is calling you.”
The teenager,who is looking for answers. She turns to drugs and the occult because she finds acceptance with other misled friends and is unaware of the dangers that she is exposing herself to. The thoughts in her head constantly running amok as she tries desperately to find a place to fit in, be accepted, be strong. So she chooses to numb her mind with drugs and booze. She chooses what looks exciting to her and her other broken friends by dabbling in the paranormal and vampire movies and Ouije boards. “Courage. Get up. Jesus is calling you.”
The young man, who married too soon while trying to find independence and love. He tries so hard to finish his schooling, but there are bills to be paid, food to be bought, babies to care for. Feelings of fatigue from the daily grind of school, work, study, school, work, study, school, work…. Never enough time to just be with his children, his wife, his aging parents. “Courage. Get up. Jesus is calling you.”
The new mom, who is so worn out having just given birth after forty weeks of hormonal shifts and weight gain and preparations for the coming little babe in her life. She has not slept a full night in months between the uncomfortable-ness of her body in the late weeks of her pregnancy and now caring for the newborn in her midst. Once again, the babe is crying in the night. And she is just so tired and does not know if she can find the strength to get up and care for the babe one more time. “Courage. Get up. Jesus is calling you.”
The father, who thought he had a good, safe job working the factory line. It wasn’t a career, but the bills were paid with money left over for him and his sweetie to have some fun on the week-ends. Now he finds himself holding a pink slip in his hand and waiting in the unemployment line. His sweetie is at the local food bank trying to get food to put on the table for them and their two children. Their savings account long gone in the first month of his joblessness. Confusion reigns in his head as to how they came to his point in life. He has no idea how to get them back on track before they loose their house. “Courage. Get up. Jesus is calling you.”
The proud momma, who always put her children first. Now they are young adults and flying the nest. She finds herself sitting in a large home with a stranger that she barely recognizes as her husband and more frightening, a stranger that she barely recognizes as herself. She is so proud of the people her children have become. Yet, she wonders how she and her husband lost themselves in the raising of their children. She is afraid to continue on to this next stage of life, yet does not know what else to do. “Courage. Get up. Jesus is calling you.”
The career woman, who put her job first in her life. She needed no one. Not a husband who she might be held accountable to. Not children who would depend on her during her most productive years. Not her parents, who did little for her other than provide her her very life and little else. She has gotten to where she is on her own two feet. Now, she is in the winter of her life, facing retirement, and realizing that it is lonely where she finds herself. What will she do once she gives up the only thing that has brought meaning to her existence. “Courage. Get up. Jesus is calling you.”
The elderly man, who would have been married for 53 years this March, had “the cancer” not taken his beloved wife six months ago. He walks around in numbness and grief. He hears his children and grandchildren pleading with him to go on with life. Yet every night, when he says his prayers, he pleads that Jesus will take him in his sleep. And yet, every morning,he awakes once again without her by his side. “Courage. Get up. Jesus is calling you.”
The dear granny who was a “looker” in her day, but now finds herself bent over and barely able to walk with “the osteoarthritis.” She remembers how she used to sway those hips and the workers on the sidewalk would whistle and hoot when she went by. Now she sits in her wheelchair in the nursing home, barely able to feed herself and dependent on others. Her family has forgotten her in the busy-ness of their lives. She is bored with the remainder of her life and envious of the young nursing assistants who are there to help her. She thinks to herself that someday this will be their lives too. “Courage. Get up. Jesus is calling you.”
And so it goes…. In our inequities and despite ourselves, Jesus calls us to have courage and get up and follow Him. Like Bartimaeus, our faith in Jesus saves us as we follow Jesus down the road of our life. *Format adapted from homily by Father Dustin, St Monica Parish, Indianapolis, In, 12-2012.