Year B: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel: Mark 10: 46-52
The story of the healing of Bartimaeus is included among John’s sign stories and is used during Lent of Year A or any year in which people are following R.C.I.A. Mark’s version is much shorter and does not have the various conversations which ensued.
This is one of the Gospel stories which can be quite easy to imagine - the crowds - Bartimaeus shouting out as others try to silence him - and then jumping up when Jesus calls to him - and finally, the moment when his sight returns.
It is easy to guess the range of emotions around the healing - amazement - joy - bewilderment - irritation, perhaps, when Bartimaeus insisted on drawing attention to himself.
By creating as detailed an image of it as we can, we can also gain deeper insights on the story. We can begin to see things in it of which we may not be aware simply by reading it. And this extra dimension - of seeing more deeply - is part of the message of the story.
Bartimaeus may have been blind but he “saw” in Jesus someone who could heal him. He “saw” the possibility and grasped his opportunity. Even though those around him did not see as he did and tried to quieten him, Bartimaeus trusted to his “vision” and continued to call out to the one he “saw” and who he knew could restore his sight.
The question this poses is: what did he see? What did this blind man see in Jesus that so many of those around him did not? And what is the implication of that for us?
The people for whom this Gospel was written would have faced similar questions - why can we see things in Jesus that others cannot? Why don’t other people see what is so obvious?
Some, of course, choose not to see - others cannot see. Why that should be may be due to upbringing or fear of seeing things differently. Another reason for not seeing is that it might require change. Bartimaeus left begging behind and chose to follow Jesus.
If we allow Jesus to open our eyes fully, what change might that require of us?
What does it mean for me?
© 2006 Wellspring