1. As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way (Mk10:46-52). Taken from today’s Sunday gospel.
2. When Jeremiah was preaching to his contemporaries, warning them of the consequences that their sinful life could bring upon them they could not fully understand the truth of his teaching. Their sins blinded them to the truth. It limited their perception. When God eventually struck them with war and exile they realized the truth. They vowed never to forget Jerusalem. Suffering brought them to their senses. Jeremiah in his goodness turned to become a consoler promising God’s favours because they have accepted the truth. Like the contemporaries of Jeremiah, nobody is without limitations when it comes to pleasing God. We all have obstacles to overcome. They may be difficult but not insurmountable.
3. Today’s gospel presents us with a blind man who was surrounded by limitations. His blindness is a big obstacle to his social, economical, political and even religious life. The gospel rightly described him as sitting by the road side, begging. Yes, that is a sign of a marginalized person. He cannot be in the centre. The road was an international one, connecting Jerusalem to Jericho. It must not be the first time that Jesus was passing that way but the man may not had mustered the courage to call on Jesus. The day he made up his mind to overcome his limitation was the day he cried out to Jesus for help.
4. But he was faced by another obstacle. The people around him wanted him to shut up. He refused to listen to them. He was bent on having a new life. He cried harder and Jesus heard him and called him. He was happy and wanted to go but then came another obstacle. It was winter and the weather was cold. He needed his cloak to cover himself from cold. His determination led him to throw away the cloak and rush to Jesus. But meeting Jesus was not the end of temptations because the encounter has its own problem. Jesus asked him: “What do you want me to do for you? In his mind so many suggestions came up: tell him that you have not eaten, tell him to give you money etc. He overcame these discordant voices and went to the essential. His response was “rabouni (master) that I may see.” His response was that of a man who want to be a disciple. It’s disciples that address their master with that word.
5. Jesus immediately healed him and he followed him at once as one of his disciples, not even going back to pick his cloak. In this man we see one who says no destiny and fought his way out of the limitations that pulled him down from moving forward with life. He fought his fears, he fought the people around him, he fought his attachment to his material possession symbolized by his cloak and he fought his tendency for easy solution to big problem.
6. You may sincerely desire to be a disciple of Jesus but you are still held down by a number of forces. These forces must be dominated as the blind man Bartimeus did with his own obstacles. You may for example wish to be an active member of your faith community but your attachment to your cloak may be an obstacle to realizing this desire such that you always believe that you do not have time. No time to come early to mass, no time to join an association in the church, no time to go for confession, no time to read and meditate the Word of God etc. You must rise up against these limitations if your ambition is to be realized. Like Bartimeus you must ignore those around you who make you to believe that you do not need to go Jesus. You must drop your attachment to your comfort and take bold and clear steps to be counted among the disciples of Jesus. ©Vita 24/10/21.