In the gospel Jesus asks the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” Now close your eyes for a moment. Imagine Jesus asking the same question to you. “What do you want me to do for you?” What is your response? [Pause for reflection, then invite all to open their eyes.]
Now in the story, the blind man, Bartimaeus, throws off his cloak before he stands in front of Jesus. A cloak for a blind person in the time of Jesus was very important. [Show a cloak] A cloak was probably government-issued, meant to provide legitimacy to beggars, similar to a license for them to beg and collect alms.
Usually, the cloak was the beggar’s one and only possession and their only source of income. His cloak could be used as a blanket [put cloak on floor], or an umbrella [put cloak over my head], but mostly it was a signal for others to throw in money or food. [open it up as a pouch]
So for Bartimaeus to throw aside his cloak [throw cloak to the side] was HUGE. It signifies that he is ready to start something new. To “throw aside” his old way of dealing with his situation.
So let us return to what you want Jesus to do for you. Let’s say it’s to heal an ailment or body pain. OK, but are you willing to “throw aside” you old way of being healed? It’s not as if Jesus will have the magic pill or touch for you; but he might ask you if you’ve thrown aside that attitude of not losing weight, not doing the therapy, not getting enough sleep, or simply not going to the doctor about it. It’s like Jesus saying, “OK I want to heal you. Are you doing what you can to be open for healing?”
Or let’s say, you have an emotional pain. Are you willing to throw aside the cloak that says, “I don’t need a therapist; I don’t need to change; it’s THAT person who needs to change not me.”
Or imagine that you have a spiritual woe. As I have said before, I believe that all problems in the world can be reduced to this question, “How is your relationship with God? Fr. Thomas Merton, spiritual writer once wrote, “To connect with God, put in the time.” A man once heard St. Mother Teresa talk about the necessity of praying each day for one full hour. The man came up to her after the talk and described his business with this and with that. And that he doesn’t have the time to for an hour of prayer each day. She look looked at him and said, “Yes, I can tell that one won’t work for you. If you are that busy . . . you need to prayer for TWO hours.”
We all need healing is some fashion. We all can improve in many ways. But perhaps the thing that you want Jesus to help you with is NOT the issue but there’s something more . . . a better healthy approach to your life; getting out of the co-dependent craziness; being honest with God with your deep, core wound.
It’s been said that there are three primary wounds that are the root cause of all other wounds: Abandonment, Betrayal and Shame. To help you remember them just think of that “yuck” feeling you have in your gut, when things aren’t working out. Your abs are an acronym for the wounds: A.B.S. - Abandonment, betrayal, shame.
So when Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” That is, “How do you want healing?” Maybe he asking, “What is REALLY that deep wound do you need to throw aside (that is, let go of) for healing?”
- Do you feel abandoned by someone or something, like the church?
- Do you feel betrayed by someone, or something?
- Is your issue one of shame, that you don’t feel that you are worthy of a better life . . . because of what you did, or who you are?
When Bartimaeus threw off his cloak, he threw off his old way of life. He threw off his comfort zone. He was done being defined in a certain way. He was ready for healing. Are you ready to throw aside your cloak?