Homily for the thirtieth Sunday in the year - Year B - Mk. 10:46-52
Father Daniel Meynen
"They came to Jericho; and as Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimae'us, a blind beggar, the son of Timae'us, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, «Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!» And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, «Son of David, have mercy on me!» And Jesus stopped and said, «Call him.» And they called the blind man, saying to him, «Take heart; rise, he is calling you.» And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, «What do you want me to do for you?» And the blind man said to him, «Master, let me receive my sight.» And Jesus said to him, «Go your way; your faith has made you well.» And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way."
"They came to Jericho; and as Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimae'us, a blind beggar, the son of Timae'us, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, «Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!» "
Jesus arrives in Jericho with his disciples. He is going to meet Zachaeus there, a man who joyfully welcomed the Son of God into his house. But before entering the city, as Saint Luke remarks, Jesus is called to attend to a blind man, Bartimae'us, the son of Timae'us. Bartimaeus shouts to Jesus calling him by the name which recalls his origin, "Son of David"! This name serves as a precursor that the reign of God is very near when the triumphal entrance of Jesus, Son of God, descendant of David, will soon take place in Jerusalem and Jesus will be cheered "Son of David" by a vast crowd gathered in the City of the Temple for the celebration of the Passover.
Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah so much expected! This blind man, seated there on the side of the road, understood it! Certainly, he didn't see what Jesus had previously done. He didn't see the multiplication of the breads and the fishes and the recovery of so many bags of leftover scraps, nor did he see the number of sick persons whom numerous crowds have brought to Jesus, the Son of God become a Man. But first he believed in that which some people who surrounded him said about this Man of whom he had heard so much and whom they praised as a man of very great goodness. He lived first this mere human faith, this faith which consists of confidence in another who is different from us, who is our neighbor (we are on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho! - cf. Luke 10:30) and whom God himself placed on our road.
Bartimae'us knew that this man who passed by was Jesus of Nazareth. Then, the merely human faith of Bartimaeus was transformed in a divine faith, a faith which transcends all things, a faith which dares all, one so strong that it would endure compromising itself with the one whom the pharisees and the scribes sought to kill because they were jealous of this new Doctor, just as Caïn was jealous of his brother Abel whom he killed by his own hands. Bartimaeus shouts his faith in the Son of God. He calls to him this Savior of the world, he shouts in the hubbub of the crowd, "Son of David, Jesus, have mercy of me!" Bartimaeus is not afraid, although several attempted to silence him. "Many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, «Son of David, have mercy on me!» "
"Jesus stopped and asked that the blind man be brought to him. Hearing this, the crowd said to the blind man, «Courage! He is calling you.» The blind man threw off his coat and ran to Jesus. Then Jesus asked, «What is it that you want me to do?» «Master, that I may see,» answered the blind man. Jesus replied, «Go, your faith saved you.» Immediately the blind man regained his sight and he followed Jesus on the way."
Behold the rewarded faith of Bartimaeus! Jesus called him! All is done! In the end times, when all men and women appear before God, Jesus will also say to those who have persevered in the faith up to the end, "Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!" (Mt. 25:34) This call from God that we come to him will be the moment of the resurrection of the bodies. Today also, when Bartimaeus is called to Jesus, it is for him the moment of his resurrection. His eyes are opened!
Bartimaeus believed in the word of God which revealed to him internally that this man was the Son of God. This is the faith which saved him in both body and soul! «Go, your faith has saved you!» Jesus said to him. We, also, who believe in Jesus, Bread of Life, Savior of the world come to give us his divine life, can be saved by this Eucharist which we are about to celebrate! May Mary help us to believe in the Word of God! Through Her may we attain the salvation of God and the mercy of Father!