Opening the Word: ‘Your faith has saved you’

By:

Sometimes, the Gospels give us details that point toward the transformative beauty of encountering Jesus. How it changes everything.

“Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging” (Mk 10:46).

Bartimaeus is blind. He has no way to participate in the common life of society. Bartimaeus was likely viewed as a sinner by his neighbors. He must have done something to be born blind.

Yet, there’s more to Bartimaeus than his blindness. The passage tells us that he is the son of Timaeus.

This is more than a throwaway line. The author of the Gospel of Mark may in fact still know Bartimaeus. Or at least his family.

For this reason, the healing encounter with Jesus was not one and done for Bartimaeus. It changed everything for him. Enough that he became a disciple of Jesus.

From the beginning, Bartimaeus exhibits faith. He cries out to Jesus. The crowd tries to silence him. Why? Yes, Bartimaeus possesses bad friends just like Job. But that’s not all the passage is telling us. The silencing of Bartimaeus is, in essence, a refusal to admit that the kingdom of God has come in the person of Jesus Christ.

It’s here. The blind shall be given sight. The lame shall walk.

It is the moment that the prophet Jeremiah hoped for. “The Lord has delivered his people, the remnant of Israel” (Jer 31:7).

Bartimaeus will not be silent. He asks Jesus to have pity on him. The son of David to heal him.

The title Son of David, which the blind man gives to Jesus, reveals that he already knows who he is.

Bartimaeus, in fact, knows more than the disciples who are accompanying Jesus. Son of David is a Messianic title. Bartimaeus is confessing Jesus as king.

Jesus calls to him. He runs to Jesus. With the hoi polloi nearby, telling Bartimaeus to simmer down, he finds Jesus on his own. Even at the cost of looking like a fool, Bartimaeus seeks out Our Lord.

Jesus speaks to him. Our Lord asks Bartimaeus what he would like from Jesus.

Unlike the disciples, he does not ask to be the greatest in the kingdom. He does not ask to sit on the right and left of Jesus. Bartimaeus asks to see.

O beloved, Bartimaeus, after years of suffering on the sides of the street. Forlorn and forgotten by all who passed by.

He, among all men, sees you. And he responds not with a flurry of words. He tells you, “Go your way; your faith has saved you” (Mk 10:52).

Bartimaeus’ faith has saved him.

Immediately, he sees. And he becomes a follower of Jesus. Bartimaeus functions like an icon for all those who are called to follow Jesus.

Jesus wants to encounter us. He is not looking for us in the halls of power. He is walking along the road, looking for us in our woundedness.

Our Lord wants us to call out to him. To say, like Bartimaeus, have pity on me. Look upon me in my suffering, in my addictions, in my woundedness. Heal me.

Jesus wants us to ask for the healing that we need. And he wants us to follow him. To let our faith in his healing presence become a daily part of our lives rather than an isolated moment.

Yes, at once, Bartimaeus could see. But the more time he spent with Jesus, the more he could see.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:5).

October 24 – Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jer 31:7-9
Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Heb 5:1-6
Mk 10:46-52

This article comes to you from Our Sunday Visitor courtesy of your parish or diocese.

 

Catholic News & Perspective

Provides information on the Church, the nation and the world from OSV, America's most popular and trusted national Catholic news source


Recent

Opening the Word: ‘Your faith has saved you’

Friday, October 22, 2021
By: Timothy P. O'Malley Sometimes, the Gospels give us details that point toward the transformative beauty of encountering Jesus. How it... Read More

The hard work of being a Catholic thinker

Wednesday, October 20, 2021
By: David Mills “The modern man looks for thought / so he can have light,” Peter Maurin wrote in one of the short poems he called... Read More

A picture is worth a thousand words

Monday, October 18, 2021
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion A picture is worth a thousand words. Possibly no representation in religious art more affirms that old saying, save the... Read More

Opening the Word: The final misunderstanding

Friday, October 15, 2021
By: Timothy P. O'Malley You can’t help but feel a bit of pathos for James and John. By now, they have heard Jesus tell them that he has come... Read More

Can you skip purgatory and go straight to heaven?

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
By: Msgr. Charles Pope Question: Much of Catholic teaching and literature focuses on nearly every one of us going to purgatory directly after... Read More

Pope St. John Paul II and wisdom worth exploring

Monday, October 11, 2021
By: Russell Shaw It’s sometimes said that Pope St. John Paul II was the most intellectually gifted occupant of the See of Peter ever, but... Read More

Opening the Word: Give it up

Friday, October 8, 2021
By: Timothy P. O'Malley “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle... Read More

House of Hope offers people a chance to get back on their feet

Wednesday, October 6, 2021
By: Nicole Snook To “harbor the harborless” is one way to refer to the merciful work of sheltering the homeless. It is fitting, then,... Read More

In Canada, as in America and elsewhere, Catholic political leaders ignore the teachings of the Church

Monday, October 4, 2021
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion Americans disgusted with their own politicians who identify themselves as Catholic but support legal abortion should look... Read More

Opening the Word: A Difficult Obedience

Friday, October 1, 2021
By: Timothy P. O'Malley Today’s Gospel consists of a surprising contrast. Jesus first provides teaching about divorce, then he tells the same... Read More

Online Giving

Online Giving

Secure and Convenient Donate now!