October 28, 2018

A meditative re-telling of the gospel reading: Mark 10: 46-52

They came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’

Bartimaeus – blind, on the margins, reduced to begging.
But he can shout, too. And he does.
He cries out to Jesus for mercy, for deliverance from these circumstances.

There are so many voices today crying out around us for help, for mercy.
So many needs. So many broken people, pushed to the edges, desperate.
So much tragedy and suffering.

And we have our own brokenness and neediness too; our own longing for healing and help, for ourselves and those we love. Dare we even ask? Dare we hope?

Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’

Bartimaeus is told to be quiet, to hush up.
And we continue to silence those cries today, or to ignore them, or to hush them with disapproval: “You don’t deserve help. You need to be quiet. Don’t make a fuss.”

Have you heard that? Have you told yourself that?

But Bartimaeus just shouted louder: “Have mercy on me!”

The cry of those in need persists and won’t be silenced. No matter how inconvenient, the cry must be heard. And it is.

Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’

Jesus stood still. He had heard. He cared. So he called Bartimaeus to come.
We follow a teacher, a friend, a saviour who always hears our cry and calls us closer.
He is always attentive, compassionate. He notices even the ones on the margins.
No cry goes unheard. No one is too insignificant or unworthy.
And the invitation to come closer is for each one of us: to draw nearer to the source of love and healing and peace.

So throwing off his cloak, Bartimaeus sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’

Bartimaeus’ response is instant and energetic, throwing off his cloak and springing up. Running to Jesus, on legs perhaps weak from sitting so long; with a heart perhaps fearful after begging so long.

And Jesus asks that searching question that he asks each of us: “What do you want me to do for you? What is your deepest desire? What are you longing and hoping and waiting for?”

What does our hurting world need most?

The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

Bartimaeus wanted sight. He wanted to be part of his world again. He wanted clarity, community, healing of both body and spirit.

And Jesus recognizes that the man’s faith has already accomplished that. He has already leapt up and come forward. He has claimed his own wellness.

Bartimaeus is able to see – see who Jesus is, see where he himself is being called now, see a future. And he follows Jesus on the way. The journey is just beginning.

Jesus, help us to see. To see that you are always there, attentive, compassionate, inviting us closer.

Jesus, help us to see. To see that in the midst of our pain and brokenness we are not alone.

Jesus, help us to see. To see where you’re calling us on our path, and how you’re calling us into that healing community of justice and love.

Amen.