With this gospel passage we reach the end of chapter 10 of the Gospel of Mark, and, more significantly, we are reaching the end of the journey of Jesus to Jerusalem. St the beginning of the next chapter Mark will recount the triumphal entry of Jesus into the holy city. During the journey Jesus has spoken on three clear occasions of his coming suffering and death, and he has attempted to teach the disciples about the mystery of martyrdom, the martyrdom which he and they must face.
What place does our present passage have in the story? Bartimaeus reminds us of the basics as he sits ‘by the road’. Human beings are in need of healing and forgiveness, and these are the things that Jesus provides. He calls out to Jesus with the title ‘Son of David’. He has an inkling that he is the Messiah, but he will have had little idea that the Messiah is called to suffer and die min Jerusalem. Nevertheless, his call of faith is heard and Jesus in turns calls Bartimaeus to him. He is told to ‘get up’, an expression which would have reminded the early Christians of the resurrection. His rising up in faith and his subsequent healing point to the full gift of new life through faith in Jesus.
The gift of sight to Bartimaeus symbolises the gift of faith. Faith allows us to see with open eyes and a true heart. Unlike an earlier healing of a blind man in Mark, Jesus heals by word alone. The faith of Bartimaeus triggers the command of healing from Jesus. This time there is no delay in the healing. Bartimaeus receives his sight without delay. He becomes a disciple and follows Jesus along the road, exultant, on the last stages of the journey towards Jerusalem.
Do I seek true vision?
How determined am I to be healed by Jesus and to become his disciple?
Let us thank God for the light of faith.
Let us pray for all teachers of the faith that they may bring the light of truth to those to whom they minister. Fr. Adrian Graffy