Prove Who You Are
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 25, 2015
More and more often these days, we are being called to show “proof of identity.” However, things such as driver’s licenses and passports or even passwords and codes are subject to theft, allowing bad guys to gain access to places where they should not be and to things that don’t belong to them. So scientists and engineers have developed “biotmetrics.” Simply put, this is a technology that securely binds a person’s identity through some characteristic unique to them. Arising out of biometrics and proven to be one of the most reliable methods of protecting identity is iris recognition. The totally unique characteristics of a person’s iris are permanently fixed by six months of age. No two persons have the same iris pattern, which cannot be stolen, lost, or forgotten. So by simply allowing a computer to scan the iris and compare the image with a database, a person can prove identity and gain access to secure areas.
In today’s Gospel, we find Jesus on His way to prove His identity as the Messiah by suffering, dying, and rising. Access to Him is denied to a blind beggar by those surrounding the Lord, probably thinking that they were protecting Jesus and keeping Him secure. Remarkably, although sightless, Bartimaeus recognizes Jesus. In fact, he is the first person in the Gospel to acknowledge Jesus as “the Son of David.” The significance of this title should not have been lost on those who heard the blind man. Being linked to the House of King David was simply one of the characteristics of the Messiah; characteristics that were not simply established when the Lord was six months old…rather…infinite characteristics of God.
This insight by someone who was “sightless” proved, in turn, to be a characteristic unique to Bartimaeus, establishing his identity as a person of deep faith. His display of faith gained him access to the most privileged of places…the presence of The Christ. His persistence in calling out to Jesus opened the way to the most valuable of treasures…Christ’s mercy and healing powers. Through these mutual moments of recognition, Bartimaeus gained his sight, Jesus gained a committed follower on His way to prove His identity once and for all…on Cavalry….and we gained a priceless lesson.
Through our Baptism, we are given an identity that cannot be stolen or lost. But, the identity with which we are greatly privileged can be enhanced each time we follow the example of Bartimaeus and declare Jesus to be the Son of God and each time we follow the example of Jesus and welcome others with compassion and mercy. And the best part is this: When we stand before the Gates of Heaven, and our lives are scanned by the just and merciful Judge…and we are proven to be who we say we are…the doors open for us to eternal life!