1 Peter 2: 2-5, 9-12
 Psalm 100: 2-5
 Mark 10:46-52


Today’s gospel story is one of three account involving Jericho. It is the setting for the story of the Good Samaritan and for the encounter between Jesus and Zacchaeus. Jericho was an important cultural centre in Jesus’ day, and it had been a continuous settlement at that time for 9,000 years! Because of its strategic position on major trade routes, it was a bustling commercial and cultural centre with a diverse population that included Jews, Samaritans, Greeks and Romans. It was a suitable place for a man to beg and necessary no doubt, for him to shout so he could be heard over the noise of trade and traffic..

Central to this story is a blind beggar, but unlike in other healing stories (apart from Lazarus) Mark tells us the man’s name – Bartimaeus. There has to have been a reason for that.

Bartimaeus did not just ask for healing. He clearly acknowledged Jesus as the promised Messiah. His faith was more than words, because when he was healed and invited by Jesus to go, he instead, became a follower. He joined Jesus group of disciples – perhaps we could call him Jesus’ last disciple, because the group was on its way to Jerusalem, and the cross. Surely that is why his name was remembered. Bartimaeus was not put off by those who wanted him to remain quiet. He asked Jesus “to let me see again”. When his physical sight was restored, it was his ‘sighting’ of who Jesus was, that captured him and called him..

In almost every gospel encounter of healing, there is no expression of gratitude (one of the ten lepers is an exception). Bartimaeus knew that Jesus was more than a healer and his gratitude and belief were expressed by his throwing off his old life (he discarded his cloak) and following Jesus on ‘the way’.

Bartimaeus became a disciple of Jesus. Mark wanted that remembered. Bartimaeus’ deep belief in Jesus, his enthusiastic response to being called, his asking to see again and his setting out on the road as a disciple in gratitude for what he had received, are each, causes for our reflection and imitation.

Brian Traynor CP  has been involved in faith formation for many years especially in the form of parish missions and through the Passionist Family Group Movement. Brian is a member of the Passionist community at Holy Cross, Templestowe.