Homily for the thirtieth Sunday of the year - Year B - Mk. 10:46-52


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, 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."





Homily:


"As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, 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!' "


The episode recounted in this Sunday's Gospel takes place shortly before the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, on Palm Sunday. The fame of Jesus is already very great: everyone has heard speak of the Son of David and of the miracles he has accomplished. Without hesitation, a blind man, seated there on the side of the road as Jesus is passing by, shouts out: "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" For a great opportunity, perhaps the only one of his life, is within his reach: if he ever wants to see, if he wants to be cured of his infirmity, it is now or never, this is his one chance to meet the one whom God sent to save his People!


"And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, 'Son of David, have mercy on me!' "


Several of those who were there wanted him to be silent... What was their intention? Was it good? In this case, those who wanted to silence Bartimaeus undoubtedly were more concerned with their own personal peace than with the infirmity of this blind man... When somebody shouts: "Fire! Fire!", it is very rare that people of the vicinity ask him to be silent: on the contrary, everyone joins him in shouting: "Fire!" and soon someone calls the firemen. Nobody complains about having been disturbed by someone shouting: "Fire!" But when the Church repeats and shouts out, loud and strong, that contraception is a sin, then, immediately, every means is employed to minimize this call and to reduce to silence this voice which shouts in the desert... The Church calls out to the Savior of the world in order for him to come and heal the infirmities of the men and women of our time, but, alas, her cry is so smothered that it can hardly be heard... If one is disturbed by the Church, one seeks to silence her by any means possible...


"But he cried out all the more, 'Son of David, have mercy on me!' " This is truly what we must all do: we must shout again and again! We must not grow weary of proclaiming the Good News of Salvation in Jesus Christ! Let us make the voice of the Church be heard, a voice which calls to her Savior in order that he might heal all the men and women of the earth! Many are the infirmities of our world! Greatest among these is that blindness which is a defect of the vision of faith: our world greatly lacks true faith in Jesus the Savior, that faith which makes it possible for us to maintain a correct balance between the rights of God and the rights of man. "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.' "


The perseverance of Bartimaeus is rewarded: Jesus calls him! Perseverance in prayer, unceasingly renewed hope is always rewarded by the Lord. To hope, now and always, even after undergoing long periods during which we wait and are tempted by discouragement: this is what God expects from each one of his children. Our own salvation, and that of the whole world, depends upon our perseverance in prayer until the end, until, finally, God calls us to him, on the last day of our life. For then, the Lord will call us by our own name and will reward us by removing the veil which now prevents us from seeing him: then, we will no longer be blind in the world, but rather filled with the vision of God who enlightens every man and woman living in his House (cf. Rev. 21:23)!


"And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus."


Jesus called Bartimaeus. This call, this voice of the Master, comforts the soul and brings joy: the blind man throws off his mantle and springs up! The joy of the soul shines forth and shows through in the attitude of the body! But it is above all the power of the Word of God which then goes to work. For it is this power, this force, which makes it possible for Bartimaeus to go to Jesus to be healed by him. Jesus said: "No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." (Jn. 6:65) It is the almighty grace of the Father which allows man to go to the Savior to receive from him the healing of his soul and body. "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."


What a splendid, moving, exceptional dialogue! Bartimaeus, a blind man, is before he who can heal not only his body, but also his soul. And he knows it, for he called Jesus by his Messianic title: "Son of David!" In his vision of faith, Bartimaeus asks Jesus for the ability to see him, to see the Messiah, the envoy of God, and thus to be doubly happy: through the vision of the body and the vision of the soul. Jesus indeed knows what is in the soul of Bartimaeus, just as he knows what is in the soul of each individual man and woman. Jesus knows that Bartimaeus believes in him, and by healing him, Jesus wants to reward his faith both in his body and in his soul: "Go your way; your faith has made you well."


Will we not participate in another exceptional dialogue during this Eucharistic celebration, at the moment when the celebrant will present to the faithful the Body and Blood of Christ? At that time, too, Jesus will call to us and, if we want to, we will approach the altar to receive within us Jesus in his sacrament. Let us not allow this opportunity to pass: let us enter into a secret dialogue with the Lord, one which concerns only Jesus and ourselves, and one which will lead us, without any doubt, to the Gates of Eternity, where Mary, the Mother of Holy Hope, awaits us under the watchful gaze of the Father!



To order the weekly homily immediately, click here