Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
(Sirach 42;15-25; Mark 10:46-52)
In considering his blindness John Milton wrote a sonnet. He complained that he might be judged as unworthy if he did not produce something worthwhile for God. Then he had the insight that God would not exact from a person more than He enabled the person to do. Milton concluded his poem by writing, “They also serve who only stand and wait”; that is, waiting patiently for the Lord is also an act of faith worthy of salvation. Today’s gospel recounts a similar tale of a blind man’s faith.
As he sits begging, Bartimaeus wants sight more than alms. A few coins might see him through the day, but sight could liberate him from his miserable occupation. He feels hope rising when he hears that Jesus, the healer, is drawing near. He calls out, “’Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.’” Recognizing Jesus as “Son of David” indicates a preliminary faith in him. This faith is rewarded with physical sight. At this point Bartimaeus has an insight into the fullness of faith. Rather than going his own way, he decides to follow Jesus. It is known that Jesus is bound for martyrdom in Jerusalem. Bartimaeus is risking his own life to accompany him.
All of us face difficulties in life. We should pray to Jesus to see us through them to safety. We should also, like Bartimaeus, not shirk from following Jesus when the situation turns even more difficult. He is our true prize.