The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus

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Reflection on the Gospel of the Thirtieth Sunday In Ordinary Time

Mark 10:46-52

 

Today’s Gospel is a faith story. A blind man named Bartimaeus is sitting by the roadside begging, dependent on the generosity and experiences many taunts of passers by. It is something that he has grown accustomed to but isn’t happy about. He hears Jesus passing by and immediately cries out “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me”. The title ‘Son of David’ clearly indicates that Bartimaeus has identified Jesus as the Royal Messianic King that was promised to the people of Israel. Although the expectation was a political Messianic King, who was supposed to free the people of Israel from the rule of the Romans, Bartimaeus isn’t seeking political freedom from Jesus. He recognizes Jesus as the Good News bearer, the healer, the promise declared in the book of Isaiah 61:1. Bartimaeus has faith in Jesus the complete healer and his only hope to experience freedom from his current dark miserable state.

Faith isn’t a destination, it is a process, an experience that grows stronger or weaker. Calling out to Jesus and successfully getting the attention of Jesus isn’t sufficient. Jesus invites His seekers on a journey of faith towards Him. It is this journey that is often difficult with obstacles. Bartimaeus had many people from the crowd trying to silence him and his blindness itself is an obstacle that prevents him from running to Jesus. But the Lord recognizes a true seeker, He uses the very same obstacles to help Bartimaeus to get closer to Him (Jesus, asks the crowd to get Bartimaeus to Him).

On hearing that Jesus has called Him, Bartimaeus knows for sure his current miserable life is about to change for the better, he throws off his cloak (perhaps his only current possession) and goes to Jesus. It is this act of complete faith and surrender that is truly admirable. It’s often observed that we truly want Jesus to change our lives but we are mostly stubborn in leaving our baggage behind. Jesus recognizes Bartimaeus’ admirable faith and grants him the gift of sight immediately and completely. 

Bartimaeus must be truly overjoyed on receiving his sight and having an encounter with the Lord Himself. It is truly a life changing encounter as Bartimaeus continues to follow Jesus leaving his old self behind.