24 Oct


(A biblical refection on THE 30th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 25 October, 2015) 

Gospel Reading: Mark 10:46-52 

First Reading: Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalms: Psalm 126:1-6; Second Reading: Hebrews 5:1-6 

BARTIMEUS - 000The Scripture Text

And they came to Jericho; and as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; rise, He is calling you.” And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Master, let me receive my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Him on the way. (Mark 10:46-52 RSV)

There is a high hill on the west side of Jericho which offers a panoramic view of the ancient city. The splendid colors of flowers, mingling with the orange blossoms and palm trees, are a delightful sight. It was in this fertile Jordan River Valley town that Bartimeus lived, smelled the fragrant blossoms and heard the leaves rustled by the gentle wind. But he never saw its beauty, for he was blind.

Through the pen of Saint Mark, Bartimaeus finds his way into today’s Gospel, sitting “in the right place at the right time” – when Jesus happened to be passing by. He had heard of the famous Miracle Worker and when told He was right here in Jericho, Bartimaeus suddenly decided to make the biggest gamble of his life. He would call out for Jesus to work one more miracle in Jericho – for him.

He was afraid that perhaps Jesus wouldn’t even hear his call, that people would laugh at him. Yet the thought of being able to see, capable of finding a job and being independent, strengthened his courage. When the crowd grew louder – meaning Jesus was very near – Bartimaeus out-shouted them with eight well-chosen words: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47). It was this forceful prayer – said two times – which reached the ears of the Lord, causing Him to stop and ask the bystanders to bring to Him the man who prayed that beautiful faith-filled prayer. Bartimaeus began to tremble, causing someone to offer reassurance, “Take heart; rise, He is calling you.” (Mark 10:49), as if he was saying: “You have nothing to fear from Him”. To Jesus’ question, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51) the frightened but expectant blind man cried out, “Master, let me receive my sight.” (Mark 10:51), … “I want to see!” Bartimaeus’ world of darkness continued a few moments more as he heard the words, “Go away, your faith has made you well”  (Mark 10:52) … “Your faith has saved you.”  Suddenly he saw the sunshine, colors danced before his eyes and the most breath-taking sight of all was the celestial face of Jesus.

We could make the words of Bartimaeus our own prayer for mercy, entreating the Savior to relieve our sufferings with His healing blessings. Try the prayer if you have spiritual blindness and cannot accept others or find any good in them. Pray those words if you are blind to your faults, have lost your way through life or have no hope for a glorious future. Pray with courage and shout twice if you must, even if others tell you to be quiet.

You may feel helpless, sitting on some dark back road of society, but Jesus still passes by. He wants to lift you from your gloomy shadows of despair. Regardless of how far from Him you may be, trust His mercy and ask His help for He will listen to you. Someday you will behold Him face to face, like Bartimaeus. Just you wait, you’ll see!

Prayer: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! Son of David, have mercy on me!

Jakarta, 23 October 2015 

A Christian Pilgrim


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