Bartimaeus

Lectio: 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer

Lord,
guide the course of world events
and give your Church the joy and peace
of serving you in freedom.
You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

2) Gospel Reading – Mark 10,46-52

As Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus — that is, the son of Timaeus — a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and cry out, ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.’ And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’ Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him here.’ So they called the blind man over. ‘Courage,’ they said, ‘get up; he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. Then Jesus spoke, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘Rabbuni, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has saved you.’ And at once his sight returned and he followed him along the road.

3) Reflection

• The Gospel today describes the cure of the blind man Bartimaeus (Mk 10, 46-52) which closes the long teaching of Jesus about the Cross. At the beginning of this teaching, there was the cure of an anonymous blind man (Mk 8, 22-26). Both cures of blind persons are the symbol of what happened between Jesus and the disciples.
• Mark 10, 46-47: The shouting of the blind man Bartimaeus. Finally, after travelling a long distance, Jesus and the disciples reached Jericho, the last stop before going up toward Jerusalem. Bartimaeus, the blind man was sitting at the side of the road. He could not take part in the procession which accompanies Jesus. But he calls out, asking for the help of Jesus: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” Throughout the centuries, through the practice of the monks of the desert, this invocation of the poor Bartimaeus became what is usually called:“The prayer of Jesus”. The monks repeated it orally, all the time, and from the mouth it went to the heart. The person, after a short time, no longer prays, in the sense that the person becomes prayer.
• Mark 10, 48-51: Jesus listens to the cry of the blind man. The cry of the poor man bothers people. Those who are in the procession try to stop the poor man from shouting, but “he shouted even louder!” And what does Jesus do? He listens to the call of the poor man, he stops and said: Call him here! Those who wanted to keep him from shouting, to stop the disturbing shout of the poor man, now, at the request of Jesus, are obliged to bring the poor man to Jesus. “Courage, get up because Jesus is calling you”. Bartimaeus leaves everything and directs himself to Jesus. He does not have too much. Only a mantle; what he had to cover his body (cfr. Ex 22, 25-26). This was his security, the only thing he possessed. Jesus asks: “What do you want me to do for you?” It is not enough to shout. It is necessary to know why we shout! “Rabbuni, My Lord, let me see again!” Bartimaeus had called Jesus not with thoughts completely just, because the title “Son of David” was not particularly appropriate. Jesus himself had criticized this (Mk 12, 35-37). But Bartimaeus had greater faith in Jesus than what he could express with his ideas about Jesus. He does not express any demands as Peter did. He knows how to give his life without imposing any conditions, and the miracle takes place.
• Mark 10, 52: “Your faith has saved you”. Jesus tells him: “Go, your faith has saved you.” In that same instant Bartimaeus began to see again and he followed Jesus along the road. His cure is the result of his faith in Jesus. Once cured, he abandons everything, follows Jesus along the road and goes up with him toward Calvary to Jerusalem. Bartimaeus becomes a model disciple for all of us who want to “follow Jesus along the road” in the direction of Jerusalem. In this decision of walking with Jesus is found the source of courage and the seed of the victory on the Cross. Because the cross is not fatal, nor an exigency from God. It is the consequence of the commitment assumed with God, to serve the brothers and sisters and to reject privileges.
• Faith is a force which transforms persons. The cure of the blind man Bartimaeus clarifies a very important aspect of how faith in Jesus should be. Peter had said to Jesus: “You are the Christ!” (Mk 8, 29). His doctrine was right, exact, because Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. But when Jesus says that the Messiah has to suffer, Peter reacts and does not accept. Peter had a right doctrine, but his faith in Jesus was not so just. Bartimaeus, on the contrary, had called Jesus with the title of “Son of David!” (Mk 10, 47. Jesus was not too pleased with this title (Mk 12, 35-37). And this is why, even invoking Jesus with a doctrine which is not correct, Bartimaeus had faith and was cured! It was different from that of Peter (Mk 8, 32-33), he believed more in Jesus than in the ideas that he had of Jesus. He was converted and followed Jesus along the road toward Calvary (Mk 10, 52). The total understanding of the following of Jesus is not obtained through a theoretical teaching, but with practical commitment,walking with him along the road of service and of gratuity, from Galilee to Jerusalem. Anyone who insists in maintaining the idea of Peter, that is, a glorious Messiah without the Cross, will understand nothing of Jesus and will never be able to attain the attitude of a true disciple. Anyone who believes in Jesus and “gives” himself (Mk 8, 35), accepts “to be the last one” (Mk 9, 35), to “drink the cup and to carry the cross” Mc 10, 38), this person, like Bartimaeus, even having a not too correct idea, will succeed to perceive and “to follow Jesus along the road” (Mk 10, 52). In this certainty of walking with Jesus is found the source of courage and the seed of the victory on the cross.

4) Personal questions

• An indiscreet question: “In my way of living faith, am I like Peter or like Bartimaeus?
• Today, in the Church, is the majority of the people like Peter or like Bartimaeus?

5) Concluding Prayer

Yahweh is good,
his faithful love is everlasting,
his constancy from age to age. (Ps 100,5)

MENU