Saturday, October 24, 2015

10-25-2015 -- 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

October 25, 2015 - 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

Bartimaeus is a puzzle, a contradiction. If we can figure him out then we get a glimpse into what discipleship looks like. 

There are three major contradictions that Bartimaeus shows us and we can learn something from each of them.

Bartimaeus may be physically blind. But he is the only one who truly sees who Jesus is.

So, in the spiritual realm, the crowd is blind and it is blind Bartimaeus who sees. Bartimaeus is the only person who calls Jesus by name when he asks for healing.

Even though Bartimaeus is physically blind before his encounter with Jesus, by the end of his encounter, he is the only one who sees.

Last weekend James and John didn’t really recognize Jesus. There was nothing wrong with their eyes, but they didn’t see. The weekend before that the rich young man walked away sad because he didn’t really recognize Jesus either. Do we see any better than them?

What does Bartimaeus offer us? He offers us a glimpse into who Jesus really is, the Son of David, the Messiah, the only Son of God, the one who heals us of our blindness. Bartimaeus teaches us to see.

The second contradiction: the crowd is silent but Bartimaeus cries out. Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me. The crowd wants him to be quiet because they want to hear Jesus the teacher.

But Bartimaeus wants more; he wants an encounter. People scolded him and rebuked him and ridiculed him and bullied him and made fun of him. But that didn’t matter to him.

Bartimaeus would not listen to the crowd. He cried out even louder. Have mercy on me. His cry for mercy touches Jesus who asks: What do you want me to do for you?

Bartimaeus, who already sees, asks for physical healing. What do we ask Jesus for in our lives?

At the end of the day the crowd that is following Jesus will go home but Bartimaeus will not. Even though he was told to go his way, he will follow Jesus. He does what the rich young man cannot do.

He leaves behind his only possession, the ragged old cloak, which is his security, his warmth at night, his whole world, to follow the Lord.

Bartimaeus’ discipleship is a result of Jesus’ mercy. And through Bartimaeus’ encounter with Jesus, he can do what the rich young man cannot. Bartimaeus shows us the way to discipleship.

The gospel call is to be like Bartimaeus. We are challenged to fling off our possessions, receive the healing mercy of Jesus, and in faith and with courage, step out and follow, regardless of what the crowd says.

Bartimaeus is a master of contradictions. He is blind but is the only one who sees who Jesus truly is. He is told to be quiet but he yells and cries out even louder. He is told to go his way but instead he follows.

Through Bartimaeus Jesus teaches the crowd. Bartimaeus does what Jesus wants us all to do.

Can we see who Jesus truly is? In recognizing Jesus as the one who heals us, can we cry out to the Lord for mercy? And finally, after being healed, can we step out into a world of contradictions and follow?

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