Mark 10:46-52
We Long to See God by Rev. Paul Grankauskas
Reprinted by permission of "The Arlington Catholic Herald"

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Mark wrote to explain Christ
to the new Gentile converts.

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging.  On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me."  And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.  But he kept calling out all the more, "Son of David, have pity on me."  Jesus stopped and said, "Call him."  So they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you."  He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.  Jesus said to him in reply, "What do you want me to do for you?"  The blind man replied to him, "Master, I want to see."  Jesus told him, "Go your way, your faith has saved you."  Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

"I want to see!"  Here we have the simple yet powerful request of a blind man.  He sits by the roadside crying out, "Son of David, have pity on me!"  Though he is rebuked by the crowd and told to keep silent, he cries out even louder.  To be able to see is Bartimaeus' deepest longing and desire, and it is satisfied by Our Lord.  From that day, the Gospel says, the once-blind man followed Jesus.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that, "The desire for God is written on the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself" (No 27). 

That the human soul longs for God is no mere flight of fancy.  The author of the Book of Psalm speaks quite dramatically about this thirst: "O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting.  My body pines for you, like a dry weary land without water" (Ps. 63).

The soul longs for God.  We want to see God.  One day we shall see Him face to face in heaven, and the soul will be satisfied.  But how are we to quench that thirst while we remain on earthly pilgrimage?  St. John Chrysostom once told his congregation: "How many there are who still say, 'I want to see his shape, his image, his clothing, his sandals.'  Behold you do see him, you touch him, you eat him!"  He is, of course, referring to the Eucharist.

It is in the liturgy especially that the soul's longing to see God can be satisfied.  There Christ is present in the proclamation of the Word, in the gathered assembly ("Where two or three are gathered ..."), in the priest who acts in the person of Christ in the Eucharistic sacrifice; and truly, really substantially present in the Eucharist.  True, it is a veiled and hidden presence, but he is truly present nonetheless.  The Christ we now encounter in word and sacrament is the Christ we shall know and see directly in heaven. 

If we struggle with this reality, perhaps we can make the blind man's request our own prayer: "Master, I want to see!  Strengthen my faith in your presence."

The Lord will not leave that desire unsatisfied.

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