blind man

30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Christ The King From the Parish Priest's Desk

Let me see again

In the Gospel, we find Jesus’ reputation as a healer has preceded him. When the blind man, Bartimaeus, hears that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by, he calls out to him, asking for his pity. When Bartimaeus calls out to Jesus, the crowd around him tries to silence him. Yet Bartimaeus persists, calling out more loudly and with greater urgency. He will not be silenced or deterred from getting Jesus’ attention. We notice how quickly the crowd’s reaction changes when Jesus calls for Bartimaeus. Those who sought to quiet him now encourage him. When Jesus restores Bartimaeus’s sight, no elaborate action is required. (In other healing stories in Mark’s Gospel, actions accompany Jesus’ words). In this instance, Jesus simply says that Bartimaeus’s faith has saved him. Throughout Mark’s Gospel, the success of Jesus’ healing power has often been correlated with the faith of the person requesting Jesus’ help. For example, it is because of her faith that the woman with the haemorrhage is healed. When faith is absent, Jesus is unable to heal; we see this after his rejection in Nazareth. Once his sight has been restored, Bartimaeus follows Jesus on his way to Jerusalem. In Mark’s Gospel, Bartimaeus is the last disciple called by Jesus before he enters Jerusalem.
The readings point to an important element of Christian faith, an important reality in the life of faith of each believer, something which marks us off from unbelievers or atheist humanists: we don’t and can’t save ourselves. God brings about our healing, the removal of our blindness, our salvation. Obviously there’s always a balance to be struck between the idea of depending on God’s grace and responding to God by our own free-will and by freely chosen decisions.