Have You Ever Experienced a Life-Changing Event?

This week's reflection is written by
Rev. Richard R. DeLillio, OSFS.

Occasionally in life we find ourselves facing a moment that is a life changing and challenging experience. It can be full of joy like seeing your first-born granddaughter for the first time or getting your first job after college. It can also be unhappy like losing a loved one or a job. All of these will alter your life direction in large and small ways.

Throughout his ministry, Jesus initiated quite a few amazing life-changing events, especially through his miracles. One is when Jesus encountered the blind, beggar Bartimaeus.

Bartimaeus was chained to his blindness and lived his life on the sidelines begging. Bystanders passing him rarely noticed Bartimaeus begging. He was invisible to them. One day Jesus arrives triggering a huge commotion with noisy crowds scrambling to get near him.

Startled Bartimaeus heard the noises but couldn’t determine what created the confusion. When Bartimaeus discovered it was Jesus, he became excited because he had heard about this potential long-awaited messiah and his power to heal.

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Immediately Bartimaeus began shouting Jesus’ name. The crowd tried to quiet him down but Bartimaeus is persistent and yelled louder. Jesus stopped and called Bartimaeus to him asking, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus knew precisely what he wanted. “I want to see,” he said. Immediately Jesus restored his sight.

Bartimaeus experienced this life-changing event and was never the same again. Imagine his seeing through his teary eyes a blue sky with puffy clouds, green trees swaying in a breeze, and the warm rays of a brilliant sun he could now see. His life would never be the same again.

Scripture says Bartimaeus received his sight and afterwards became one of Jesus’ followers. Jesus said to him “…your faith has saved you” because Jesus saw the heart of Bartimaeus and discovered what no other passersby perceived – a man of faith longing to be released from his darkness. When he did, Bartimaeus saw the light, Jesus, he sought through all those isolated years. His faith helped him choose to follow that healing light.

Recently in the parish, I witnessed the life-changing events of two babies. I baptized them in cleansing waters made sacred by the dying and rising of Jesus, their savior. On this day, as on the day of our baptisms, Jesus, the word made flesh, removed the stain of their first parents’ sin. He reclaimed them as God’s adopted children and changed their destiny forever. They would inherit heaven and live forever in God’s household. And, they slept through it all. The most amazing life-changing experience they would ever have, and it happened in their slumber.

However, Jesus doesn’t care. He loves us all. He walked among us, and suffered so that everyone, Bartimaeus, the two newly baptized infants, you and me and everyone baptized would have this life changing experience.

Bartimaeus may have the best response. He never stopped wanting Jesus even when they tried to quiet himJesus helped him see and when Bartimaeus saw Jesus, he chooses to follow him. That’s the life-changing response Jesus seeks from us all!