A couple of construction workers and a contractor were working on a house. The workers were digging the foundation. As they dug, they noticed something shiny in the ground, so they began to dig around it, and soon unearthed what appeared to be a golden lantern. Mystified, the workers looked at it and thought, "Could it really be a gold lantern with a genie?" There was only one way to find out for sure, so one of the workers began to rub the lantern and sure enough, a genie emerged. He said, "I will grant you three wishes. Normally I give all the wishes to one person. Since there are three of you, I will give one wish to each of you." The workers were really excited!
One of the workers said, "If I could wish for anything, I wish right now to be in a pub in Ireland with a pint in my hand." Poof, he was gone to a pub in Ireland drinking a pint of Guinness.
Next, the second worker piped up, saying, "That sounds really good, except I like the sun. I would rather be in Hawaii on the beach." So poof, he was gone, reclined in a beach chair in Hawaii.
Now the genie turned to the contractor, saying, "And what is your wish?" and without hesitation the contractor said to the genie, "I can never get these guys to do any work and they are always taking a break. So I wish they would be back here by noon." Poof, they were back by noon!
If wishes were dishes, they would all be broken.
This past Sunday, we heard in the Gospel of the bling man Bartimaeus. Jesus says to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" Bartimaeus is given the opportunity to express any desire that he has and Jesus will grant it. "What do you want me to do for you?"
The reality for us today is that we don't have a magical genie in a lantern, but we do have Jesus in the Tabernacle. Some of the Saints and mystics talk about Jesus' willingness to allow Himself to remain "imprisoned" in the Tabernacle for us. There He is, always present to us. Anytime we want, during the day, we can find Jesus in the Tabernacle, and He will always be there waiting for us.
It is during Mass when we celebrate the mysteries that Jesus is released from the Tabernacle. At that moment, He is actually present and made manifest for us. We hear Him in the Word. We receive Him in the Sacrament of Communion. In that moment, Jesus comes to you and He asks you the same question, "What do you want Me to do for you?" We have this opportunity to ask Him for anything. The reality is, hopefully, it is our deepest desire.
There is so much symbolism in the Gospel story of the blind man Bartimaeus. First of all, he throws off his cloak and runs to Jesus. Bartimaeus is willing to sacrifice anything of surface level and really present his most vulnerable need to Jesus.
Also very symbolic in the Gospel is this whole notion of darkness and light. Darkness has always been for us an understanding of sin. Light has always been an understanding of Christ in creation and redemption from sin.
When Bartimaeus asks that he be able to see, he is asking to be freed from the darkness of his life. He really wants to be able to experience God. Jesus asks him, "What do you want me to do for you?" And he says, "Master, I want to see." His deepest desire. He wants to see. And Jesus says, "Go your way. Your faith has saved you."
There are two things that happen here. One is Jesus asking the question, and the second is a response of faith. "I want to see." And Jesus says, "Your faith has saved you." Then Bartimaeus immediately receives sight, and instead of going his own way, he follows Jesus.
Ultimately our deepest desire is to see Christ and to follow Him within each of our lives. The reality is that God has given us free-will. He never forces us to do anything in life. Which includes never forcing us away from sin. However He does ask each of us "What do you want Me to do for you?" And we have the opportunity to ask Him for anything.
We begin every Mass with that opportunity. When the priest says, "Let us pray," there is a moment of silence. That moment of silence is for all of us to express our desire to God. What do we want from Him? To see Him? To follow Him? If we could ask Him for anything, what would it be?
Now before you go on with the rest of your day, you have an opportunity now - at this very moment, to meditate in prayer. If Jesus were here right now, today, and He asked you, "What do you want Me to do for you?” and you could ask Him anything, what would it be? Hopefully, it will be beyond the surface area of the genie in the bottle. Hopefully, it will be beyond a trip to Ireland or Hawaii. What is your deepest desire? What do you need most of God? That you will ultimately see Him? Let go of any sin in your life and follow Him? He wants nothing more than to grant you your heart's desire. He offers you, now, the opportunity. He asks you, "What do you want Me to do for you?"