Jesus is merciful. For he cares for those who call on him in their needs. He does not leave them at the edge of the road; he takes them with him.
The one who has come to be a sacrifice for all cannot pass over those who are poor. Those, though, who take seats of politics and religion leave them at the edge of the road.
No, the one who teaches us to call God “our Father” does not leave the poor behind. They are his —and our— brothers and sisters.
So, Jesus stops. For the blind man must be part of the New Exodus. Then, he says, “Call him.” And those who before rebuked him now cheer him up; the Teacher’s mercy rubs off on them.
Quickly, the one at the edge of the road throws his cloak aside. Does he feel it holds him back? Or does his faith convince him that it is enough that he is called by the one who will set up again David’s throne? That is to say, he is sure, by faith, that his cloak is of use no more. He needs not lay it on the ground to catch alms.
In any case, to throw aside the cloak means freedom to heed the call. And, in fact, Bartimaeus jumps up and comes to Jesus.
The latter knows what the former wants. But just the same, he asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” He thus connects with him and lets him convey his wish. In turn, the one seeking mercy admits he is blind. Jesus, then, says, “Go, your faith has made you whole.” Bartimaeus sees; he follows him.
Blind at the edge of the road.
In the account on the man born blind (Jn 9), the Pharisees ask Jesus, “Are we blind too?” And he says, “Were you blind, you would have no sin. But since you say you see, your sin remains.”
The gospels, of course, ask the Christians more than the Pharisees not to be blind. Hence, we should examine ourselves.
Do we know Jesus well, his words and deeds? Or does darkness stop us from following him? It is crucial to know him if we are to put, as St. Vincent, the whole of the Gospel into the whole of our lives (Delarue). If we are to get to the core of the Gospel and reality (Maloney), and have the mind of Jesus.
Do we, the lukewarm, not prefer to stay at the edge of the road? Maybe we need the Spirit of power, love and self-control. How sad if we sow hate. For we shall reap “complaints and laments, critiques, protests and mutual recriminations.”
Is it not time that we learn from the lowly who admit they are in need and let them bring us the Good News? They share Bartimaeus’ faith (SV.EN XI:190; SV.EN XII:142). Due to it, they call on God when they are in trouble, at the edge, on the brink, of the grave (Ps 88). So, they stay whole.
And if we do not flee but go to them, we shall, as St. Vincent (Delarue), be in the light (Is 58, 10). We will also learn to feed others (SV.EN XI:191). And to give up our bodies, shed our blood. Thus, as the neediest of all, we shall follow Jesus till Jerusalem.
Lord Jesus, have pity on us. Open our eyes, for we are blind that are at the edge of the road. And let us follow you on the way.
24 October 2021
30th Sunday in O.T. (B)
Jer 31, 7-9; Heb 5, 1-6; Mk 10, 46-52