Homily for May 26th, 2016: Mark 10:46-52.
Blind Bartimaeus, a name which means “Son of Timaeus,” supports himself through begging. When he hears that the famous rabbi, Jesus from
is coming to town, he knows there will be a big turnout. With any luck he=ll have a good day. From his
appointed station Bartimaeus hears the sound of an approaching crowd. At once
Bartimaeus starts to cry out the flattering salutation which he has rehearsed
in advance: AJesus, son of David, have pity on me!@ Indignant that this squalid town
beggar should disturb the famous rabbi=s pilgrimage, the bystanders tell
Bartimaeus to be quiet. He pays no attention. This is his big chance. He continues to cry out at the top of his
Though Bartimaeus cannot see it, Jesus has stopped. He is telling his friends to summon the man whose voice Jesus can still hear through the hubbub of the crowd. ATake courage,@ those near Bartimaeus tell him. AGet up, Jesus is calling you.@ Overjoyed, Bartimaeus leaps to his feet, throwing aside the tattered cloak which he uses to enhance the impression of pathetic misery.
AWhat do you want me to do for you?@ Jesus asks. Bartimaeus never expected anything like this. AMaster,@ he hears himself saying, AI want to see.@ AImmediately he received his sight,@ Mark tells us. The words which follow are the most important in the whole story: Bartimaeus Afollowed [Jesus] on the way.@ Jesus was on his way to
. To follow
Jesus on that way means that Bartimaeus has become Jesus= disciple. The fact that this man,
alone of all those Jesus healed in this gospel, is named, indicates that
he was known to the Christian community for which Mark wrote. He was one of
AGet up, Jesus is calling you!@ Was that just long ago and far away? Don=t you believe it! That is the Lord=s message to you, right now. Have you responded to the message? Are you passing on the message to others? If not, what are you passing on? Whether you know it or not, your life is making a statement. Is it a statement for Jesus Christ? or against him?
Perhaps you are uncertain what statement your life is making. Then you need to listen again to the call. Jesus is calling you. The farther you are from him, the more urgently he is calling. You need to do what Bartimaeus did: get up, cast aside the things that hinder you, and come to Jesus. He wants to heal you of your inner, spiritual blindness.
He wants you to follow him, on the way.