By the side of the road

In today’s Gospel (Mark 10: 46-52), the blind beggar Bartimaeus is seated at the side of the road outside of Jericho.

Jesus is on his way up to Jerusalem – where, as he told the apostles, he will be put to death. It’s a perilous journey.

But Bartimaeus has nothing to lose in recognizing Jesus, the Son of David. And so he cries out, begging for mercy, addressing Jesus in Messianic terms, which would get Jesus in trouble in a short time.

But people tell him to shut up. The truth of his message is all too dangerous.

Yes, some might have not wanted to have Jesus bother with this blind beggar, this riff-raff. But I wonder whether Bartimaeus’ naming of Jesus as Son of David didn’t also bother them.

As Gustavo Gutiérrez wrote in his commentary on today’s readings:

Recognizing Jesus as the Christ comes from the last ones in society, from those who are the side of the road, from those whom some seek to shut up.

The powers of the world want us to follow along, to be afraid to speak the truth, to be afraid of the powers that can put one to death.

But a blind beggar at the side of the road has nothing to lose and so teaches us the way, the road, to fullness of life.

When Jesus calls him, Bartimaeus jumps up. He is willing to approach this dangerous man who will soon be crucified.

When Jesus asks him what he wants, Bartimaeus tells him that he wants to see.

But hasn’t Bartimaeus already “seen” the truth?

Today, I pray that we may be more like Bartimaeus, willing to make a nuisance of ourselves in proclaiming the One who brings life and healing and, above all, mercy.

Then we might accompany Bartimaeus following Jesus on the road – to Jerusalem.

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A different reflection on today’s Gospel can be found here at Deacon Greg Kendra’s blog.

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