Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Healing of Bartimeus

18th November 1979

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

We are coming now to the weeks of preparation for Lent. Habitually on this particular week we read the Gospel of the Blind man. This story is that where Mark and Luke tell us about the blind man, a man who have tried everything to be healed, his own and other people's wisdom and ability, in vain, and who in the end found that Christ was passing by. Christ had not come to him, He was just passing along the road where the blind man was seated, begging, because there was nothing left to him. He did not expect anymore healing or anything — only to survive. And then hope flared up in him: someone was passing, and this crowd had a peculiar sound, it was not a caravan, it was not people who were just walking along the road; it had a centre, a focus, there was something peculiar about this crowd. And he asked who it was, and when he heard Who it was, he began to cry for help. And Christ gave him help: He restored his sight, He cured his blindness.

Looking at this story don't we learn something very important? Our soul is sick, our life is waning — I am speaking of eternal life, perhaps not the life of our body; something is dying in us, and we should learn from David the King to cry out of the deep, the deep of our despair, the deep of our disillusionment, the deep of our misery, the deep of our sin, the deep of all the things that destroy us, cry a cry, and say, “I trust you, Lord! I trust your silence, as I would trust your word”... And then, if we only abandon ourselves to that confidence, we will hear the Lord saying, See again! Go home, worry no more — “home” meaning the very depth of your being, the place where you are alive, because your soul is alive, life has come back!

Let us enter into these weeks of preparation with this glorious encouragement from God Himself, with this hope He gives us, this certainty, indeed He gives us. Let us start on this journey, and be ready when Lent comes to have gone from blindness to sight.

And next week, when we remember Zaccheus, let us remember him again with eyes that can see, and then go on, from strength to strength, from brokenheartedness to brokenheartedness, and from sickness to healing, until we come to the Resurrection. Amen.

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