- Mk 10:46-52
- The Blind Bartimaeus
I’m sure all of us have encountered or met blind people. Me too, I encountered. One time, while waiting for my flight back home I went to a group of blind masseurs inside the pre-departure area for a massage due to a back ache that I felt. The blind masseur assigned to me, before he did his job, prayed because he made the sign of the cross. After one day the ache had gone.
In my own reflection this blind masseur saw his helplessness even if he had a gift of healing but he still needed God’s help. He trusted that God would answer him and God did answer because the pain in my back had gone. This is my own interpretation.
Today’s gospel is about the healing of Bartimaeus of his blindness. He is really determined to get near to Jesus who could meet his need. He knows and hears Jesus about His healing miracles but he has no means of making contact with Him. It took a lot of guts and persistence for Bartimaeus to get the attention of Jesus due maybe to a noisy crowd that surrounds Him. To get the attention of Jesus, he shouts: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me,” (v. 47). By calling Jesus, “Son of David” is a clear reference that He is the Messiah. The crowd was annoyed of his shouts. It is because he is disturbing their peace and interrupting Jesus’ discourse. It was customary for a rabbi to teach as he walked with others. Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and a band of pilgrims follows Him. They try to silence him but his emotional outburst overpowers them and catches Jesus’ attention. But before Jesus cures Bartimaeus, He asks him first on what to do for him. And Bartimaeus specifically tells Jesus, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus teaches us three things about prayer. First, he teaches us about persistence in prayer. We see persistence in prayer over and over in the gospels. More often Christ teaches it to us. Like for example, He tells His disciples and us about the parable of the woman who is persistent with the judge in settling her case. He invites us to “ask” in order to “receive.” He, through the blind beggar Bartimeaus’ example in today’s Gospel, teaches about it also. His calling out repeatedly wins for him Christ’s attention. But of course this persistence of Bartimaeus is accompanied by his faith.
Second is he teaches us that we need to express ourselves in our prayer. Christ knows beforehand what Bartimaeus wanted. But why does He ask him before He cures him? In order maybe, to give and leave us this blind man’s example in the gospel. Our faith needs to be active in our lives. Somebody had said that we need to be near to Christ, to remain in Him, to listen to His heartbeats of love, the pangs of His love, to listen to no one but Jesus and to reach out to him in faith through the many challenges of everyday. Is this attitude of faith characteristic in our Christian life?
Third is he teaches us about the power of faith in prayer. Jesus points out the strength of the blind man’s faith to the apostles and the crowd of people. This same faith compels Bartimaeus to “follow Him on the way.” This is the greatest effect of faith: it facilitates the following of Christ. The goal of faith is discipleship. When we receive a favor from the Lord after much prayer, how often do we stop to thank Him for it? Are we persistent enough in seeking to follow in His footsteps?