Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
(Sirach 42:15-25; Mark 10:46-52)
Ministers working in hospitals are accustomed to patients saying that they will contact them after being discharged. But such communication seldom takes place. It is not that the patients speak insincerely, but that they lack the spiritual energy to revisit the place of confinement. Bartimaeus in the gospel today would be an exception to this observation. Jesus sends him away, but he steadfastly follows Jesus.
The passage is a healing story laced with irony. Bartimaeus does not see Jesus with his eyes but possesses faith in him, which is another way of seeing. He acknowledges Jesus as “’son of David’” meaning that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. By restoring his physical sight, Jesus confirms the efficacy of Bartimaeus’ faith. Although one might argue that in obedience to Jesus, Bartimaeus should have gone his own way, his faith is more coherent for following the one whom he believes will liberate Israel from bondage.
Few of us called to a radical following of Jesus like Bartimaeus embarks. Nevertheless, if, like Bartimaeus, we acknowledge Jesus as the savior of the people, we must conform ourselves to him spiritually. This means not only that we accept the suffering that comes our way, but also that we go out of our way to share the burden of those who may be hurting more than we.