Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Pope Benedict has called Jesus the “pearl of great price.” In other words, Jesus is the gospel treasure for which we are wise to give up all we have. He provides us not just subsistence but life in abundance. His Spirit brightens our darkest days in this world, and he personally brings us across the abyss of death into a realm of delight.
The blind Bartimaeus realizes Jesus’ overwhelming value in the gospel today. We see Bartimaeus sitting on the ground with his cloak spread out to catch alms tossed by passers-by. When Jesus calls him, Bartimaeus throws his cloak aside with any and all coins that have accumulated. He knows that Jesus can provide the power to render unnecessary begging for pittances.
Jesus gives Bartimaesus his sight which is gospel shorthand for faith. Bartimeaus can see more than colors, he can perceive that Jesus is the one to follow the rest of his life. The passage is quite explicit: Bartimaeus “followed (Jesus) on the way.” Jesus, of course, is on his way to Jerusalem where he will be crucified. His followers will also be persecuted, but no matter. Just as Jesus, they will be ushered pass the abyss of death into a realm of delight.